Janis Joplin Creator Randy Johnson Finds Subject of His Next Musical Bio

News   Janis Joplin Creator Randy Johnson Finds Subject of His Next Musical Bio
Writer-director Randy Johnson, who created A Night With Janis Joplin, which played on Broadway 2013-14, is working on a musical about another female rock pioneer, Rosetta Tharpe.

Johnson has acquired the stage rights to Gayle Wald’s 2007 biography Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Rosetta Tharpe with plans to adapt it as a stage musical.

Tharpe, also known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was a 1930s-40s gospel singer/guitarist who was among the first to cross over into the pop world, bringing the musical vocabulary of rhythmic, high-energy church music into the secular musical world.

Production notes state, "Before we had the phrase 'women in rock,' Rosetta rocked churches, tent-meetings, revivals, dance clubs, stadiums, and concert halls–from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry. Her remarkable journey--from Cotton Plant, Arkansas to an acknowledged influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and a generation of British rockers–shows how a black female gospel musician was an essential player in the development of rock-and-roll. She is a pioneer and considered by many to be 'The Mother of Rock and Roll'."

Her hits include "Down by the Riverside," "This Train" and "Strange Things Happening Every Day."

A Night With Janis Joplin lasted only a few months on Broadway but is drawing crowds in its current extended production at Pasadena Playhouse in California. Johnson's resume also includes stage salutes to the likes of Patsy Cline (original producer of Always, Patsy Cline) Elvis Presley (Elvis The Concert), Mike Tyson (Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth on Broadway) and the team of Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Johnson released a statement saying he is currently in discussion with producers and regional theatres to present and produce Shout, Sister, Shout in the 2016-17 season.

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