A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN has just opened on Broadway and if you are a fan of hers, this is the show for you! From where I sat opening night, I could see heads nodding up and down, stiff men in suits cutting loose and grandma’s raising their arms and dancing. Yes, everyone in the audience was having a good time which was made even more apparent with the multiple standing ovations during the show. Honestly, more than I have ever seen in my life.
The musical was more of a concert. Janis brought us through her family life and introduced us to some influential women she listened to growing up. Towards the end of the show, it started to get dark and philosophical. The second act seemed to drag a bit but nothing a little fine tuning couldn’t fix.
Mary Bridget Davies is making her Broadway debut in this show and is fascinating to watch. Not only does she sound exactly like Janis, she embodies her. ”Piece of My Heart” was still burning in my mind 24 hours after the show, which tells you, she did an incredible job. Audience members were on their feet and some even sang a long. Right after that song, Taprena Michelle Augustine blew the lid off the house with “Today I Sing the Blues”. I was in awe and am 99% sure my jaw was dropped. In fact, the entire cast of women were truly remarkable. Each had unique voices that were spot on for each part they played. The act one closing song, “Spirit in the Dark”, which they all performed together, was such a crowd pleaser, you couldn’t help but be filled with excitement. It was like going to gospel church and that’s a rousing good time.
Justin Townsend did an exquisite job with the scenic and lighting design. Lamps were scattered all around the stage and the spotlights were perfect. There were video projections going on in the background which I didn’t feel were needed, since there was so much entertainment on stage with the singers and band. Speaking of the band, the horn section was rocking out and the guitar players not only sounded extraordinary, they had choreography. How can you not enjoy that?
All in all, A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a superb show. Not only do you get to hear Janis, you meet Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Odetta, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and more. It was a thrill and I would suggest it to anyone who enjoys a fun concert. For more information visit: http://anightwithjanisjoplin.com/