There was something about her voice - raspy, bluesy, expressive, and capable of incredible range and vocal control. From 1966 to her untimely death in 1971, Janis Joplin was the preeminent female voice in counterculture rock music.
Even now, almost 50 years later, Joplin's singular sound continues to influence singers and musicians. But who made Joplin who she was?
A Night With Janis Joplin
Feb. 11, 2018. 7:30 p.m.
"A Night With Janis Joplin," presented by Portland'5 Centers for the Arts, tells the story of Joplin's music through the musicians who influenced her. On Sunday, Feb. 11, discover the Queen of Rock's blues roots with music by Odetta, Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Etta James, the Chantels, and of course Janis Joplin.
The show is structured such that each of Joplin's female muses perform some of the defining songs of their careers, and Joplin responds with her own renditions of the songs.
Written and directed by Randy Johnson, "A Night With Janis Joplin" premiered on Broadway in 2013 to critical acclaim and garnered a Tony nomination for star Mary Bridget Davies's rendition of Joplin. The Feb. 11 performance at Keller Auditorium will feature Kelly McIntyre as the titular character.
In addition, Aurianna Angelique will perform the roles of Odetta, Bessie Smith, and one of the Chantels. Ashley Támar Davis plays Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and the second Chantel. Tawny Dolley takes on the roles of Etta James, a Chantel, and a Joplinaire. Finally, Jennifer Leigh Warren will perform as a blues singer, a Chantel, and a Joplinaire.
Janis Joplin was born in Texas in 1943, and after a turbulent childhood and adolescence, rose to fame during an appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 as the frontwoman of psychedelic rock group Big Brother and the Holding Company. Joplin was known for her unique vocal timbre and electrifying live performances. Her most popular songs were covers of soul and blues standards, including "Piece of my Heart," "Cry Baby," and "Ball and Chain." Joplin struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for most of her adult life, and died of a heroin overdose in 1970 at the age of 27.
Despite her relatively short career, however, Joplin continues to be one of the most enduring and beloved figures in popular music.
"A Night With Janis Joplin" was postponed from the original date of Oct. 17, 2017. Original tickets for October 17 will be honored on the new date.