Cleveland, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, is seeing rock and roll legend Janis Joplin brought to theatrical life. Cleveland Play House is presenting the musical Love, Janis in its Drury Theatre through April 11 (recently extended a week past its original April 4 closing date). Previews began March 2 for the show's March 5 opening.
Randal Myler conceived and adapted Love, Janis from the book of the same title written by Joplin's sister Laura. Developed through her letters to her family and her contradictory public persona, Love, Janis reveals the thoughtful, sometimes sad young woman behind the singer, while featuring performances of some of her most famous songs. Myler also directs.
Three actresses will share the role of Janis Joplin. Catherine Curtin (Off Broadway's The American Jew) play "Janis-The Private Person" with Beth Hart (front woman for the L.A. based Beth Hart Band) and Andra C. Mitrovich (Janis in the Austin, TX Love, Janis) alternating the part of "Janis-The Public Singer," Michael Santo plays the interviewer.
Big Brother and the Holding Company founder Sam Andrew serves as musical director for the musical. Andrew, who was principal songwriter and music director for Big Brother, left that band with Joplin to form Kozmic Blues Band.
Emmy Award winning costume designer Robert Blackman ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") designed both the costumes and the sets. Don Darnutzer designed the lights and Robin Heath the sound. Several Joplin-related activities center around Love, Janis including a "Remembering Janis" symposium Mar. 7 with Rolling Stone Press Editor Holly George-Warren, Laura Joplin and Sam Andrew; a pre curtain dialogue with Plain Dealer rock critic Jane Scott Mar. 18; and an exhibit of San Francisco-based psychedelic era posters featuring Janis Joplin and others at the Drury Theatre. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is also presenting a Love, Janis exhibit of Joplin photos and letters, Feb. 26-May 2.
Tickets for Love, Janis are $38-$25 and available by calling the box office at (216) 795-7000.
-- By Christine Ehren