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Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara Will Alternate in the Title Role in A Night with Janis Joplin May 4-20 at the North Carolina Theatre

<em>A Night with Janis Joplin</em> stars Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

A Night with Janis Joplin stars Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The North Carolina Theatre, the Triangle’s premiere producer of homegrown Broadway Revivals, will present the 2014 Tony Award®-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night with Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, with Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara alternating in the title role, on May 4-6, 8-13, and 15-20 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of downtown Raleigh, NC. Born into a middle-class family on Jan. 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, TX, legendary blues and rock singer Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes from the get-go, which made her an outcast in her conservative hometown. Her alienation from her parents and peers in Port Arthur put a figurative chip on her shoulder, and fueled her drive to become a successful singer-songwriter and the Queen of Rock and Roll.

Sadly, Joplin’s meteoric rise to musical superstardom, which began with an incendiary performance at the June 16-18, 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, ended on Oct. 4, 1970, when she died of an accidental heroin overdose, exacerbated by her prodigious alcohol intake. Port Arthur, which ostracized her in life and inflicted bone-deep psychic wounds that she never overcame, ironically embraced Janis Joplin as a favorite daughter in death.

On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”

A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

The cast for <em>A Night with Janis Joplin</em> includes (from left) Aurianna Angelique, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Paige McNamara, Tawny Dolley, and Nattalyee Randall (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The cast for A Night with Janis Joplin includes (from left) Aurianna Angelique, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Paige McNamara, Tawny Dolley, and Nattalyee Randall (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

In the news release on its website, NCT writes:

“Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin.

“Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin are Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara. Making her North Carolina Theatre debut in A Night with Janis Joplin, Ferrari has previously starred in numerous regional productions, including Les Misérables, The River Is Me, The Radium Girls, and Jesus Christ Superstar. She has also performed numerous original musicals at The Pit NYC.

“McNamara will also portray Janis Joplin, making her North Carolina Theatre debut in the upcoming production. Originally from Lynnfield, MA, McNamara has toured the country and world in Broadway hits, including Mamma Mia! and Sister Act, and performed in numerous regional productions, including Carrie, Hairspray Jr., and Seussical: TYA.

“Rounding out the cast as the powerhouse group of Janis Joplin’s musical influences are the Joplinaires: Aurianna Angelique, Tawny Dolley, Nattalyee Randall, and Jennifer Leigh Warren. Angelique will be stepping into the role of Bessie Smith and Odetta in A Night with Janis Joplin. She has performed in both Broadway and Off-Broadway hits, including A Night with Janis Joplin (Touring), Sister Act, and regional performances, including Rent, Smokey Joe’s Café, and Hairspray.

“Dolley, playing Etta James in A Night with Janis Joplin, currently stars in Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood Resort Las Vegas. She has performed in numerous regional shows, including A Night with Janis Joplin (Touring), Dreamgirls, Fame, and For the Record: Tarantino. Dolley has also shared the stage with some of the music industry’s elite, including Estelle, Solange, Rachel Platten, and John Legend.”

Aurianna Angelique stars as Odetta in <em>A Night with Janis Joplin</em> (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Aurianna Angelique stars as Odetta in A Night with Janis Joplin (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

NCT also writes:

“Randall will play the roles of Aretha Franklin and [Tryon, NC-born] Nina Simone in A Night with Janis Joplin. Randall was the lead in the national tour of Vocalosity and has performed in various regional theaters in Off-Broadway productions, including Dreamgirls, The Wiz, The Color Purple, Hairspray, West Side Story, and more.

“Recently completing the second tour of A Night with Janis Joplin, Warren, who will portray the Blues Singer in A Night with Janis Joplin, boasts Broadway and Off-Broadway portrayals, including a role in the original cast of Big River (Alice’s daughter), where the song ‘How Blest We Are’ was written for her by Roger Miller, Little Shop of Horrors (original Crystal), Marie Christine, and the regional production of Newsies (Tuacahn). Her television roles have included features on Pretty Little Liars, ER and All My Children.

Randy Johnson will direct North Carolina Theatre‘s production of A Night with Janis Joplin. Boasting a 30-year career, Johnson has written and directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatres across the United States and Canada, created world-class international music, staged domestic and global events, and more. Johnson was named Best Director by DC Theatre Scene for his work on Smokey Joe’s Café and was a Best Director nominee at the 2014 NAACP Theatre Awards for his work on A Night with Janis Joplin.

“‘Having made my Broadway debut as a playwright and director with A Night with Janis Joplin in 2013, I could not be more proud to be directing North Carolina Theatre‘s production of my show,’ said Randy Johnson, creator and director of A Night with Janis Joplin. ‘Whether you are a theater lover, a music lover, or both, the show will leave you singing and dancing all night and leave audiences wanting to come back for more.'”

The North Carolina Theatre's May 4-20 presentation of <em>A Night with Janis Joplin</em> stars Nattalyee Randall (left) as Aretha Franklin and Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The North Carolina Theatre‘s May 4-20 presentation of A Night with Janis Joplin stars Nattalyee Randall (left) as Aretha Franklin and Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

SECOND OPINION: May 2nd Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: https://www.indyweek.com/arts/archives/2018/05/02/spend-a-night-with-janis-joplin-courtesy-of-nc-theatre and May 1st mini-preview by Byron Woods: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-night-with-janis-joplin/Event?oid=8648777; April 29th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh BWW Interview with Paige McNamara and Francesca Ferrari, conducted by Lauren Van Hemert: https://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interview-Paige-McNamara-and-Francesca-Ferrari-Step-Into-Rock-Icons-Shoes-in-A-NIGHT-WITH-JANIS-JOPLIN-at-NORTH-CAROLINA-THEATRE-20180429; and April 28th Raleigh, NC News & Observer mini-preview by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/article209817894.html.

The North Carolina Theatre presents A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN, with Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara alternating as Janis Joplin, at 7:30 p.m. May 4, 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 5 and 6, 7:30 p.m. May 8-11, 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m. May 15-18, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 19 and 20 in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $27.26-$70.22, except $29 college-student tickets.

BOX OFFICE: NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or http://www.nctheatre.com/tickets/season-tickets.

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or https://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1587720.

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 6949; groups@nctheatre.com; or http://nctheatre.com/groups.

SHOW: https://nctheatre.com/shows/janis-joplin, https://www.facebook.com/events/284886985313924/, and http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/a-night-with-janis-joplin-8224.

2017-18 SEASON: https://nctheatre.com/show-season/201718-season.

NCT NEWS RELEASE: https://nctheatre.com/blog/nc-theatre-announces-cast-night-janis-joplin.

PRESENTER: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.

NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.

VENUE: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/venue/fletcher-opera-theater.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/directions.

PARKING: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/parking.

NOTE 1: For the run of the show, there will be an art exhibit near A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, entitled The Fashion and Art of the Blues: Janis Joplin, Her Style, and Her Heroes. NCT says, “[This exhibit] includes authentic items from the Janis Joplin estate (Janis’ clothing and her famous tambourine). Additionally, guests will learn about the historic styles of some of Janis’ biggest musical influences, which included Aretha Franklin, Bessie Smith, Odetta, Nina Simone and more….”

NOTE 2: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5th, performance.

NOTE 3: At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6th, there will be a panel discussion on The Musical Muses of Janis Joplin, moderated by NCT board member and Raleigh Arts Commission board member Chanda Branch and including N.C. State University African American Cultural Center director, playwright, and theater director Moses T. Alexander Greene; N.C. African American Heritage Commission chair Valerie Ann Johnson, Ph.D.; North Carolina Arts Council music director Carly P. Jones; and A Night with Janis Joplin actress Jennifer Leigh Warren. NCT writes, “The discussion will highlight the profound impact Janis Joplin’s significant musical influences, amazing African-American artists Bessie Smith, Odetta, Nina Simone, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin, have had on arts and culture….”

OTHER LINKS:

Janis Joplin (blues and rock singer-songwriter, 1943-70): https://www.britannica.com/biography/Janis-Joplin (Encyclopædia Britannica), http://www.janisjoplin.net/ (fan site), https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjo69 (The Handbook of Texas, published by the Texas State Historical Association), https://www.rockhall.com/inductees/janis-joplin (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/janis-joplin-495465 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0429767/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janis_Joplin (Wikipedia).

A Night with Janis Joplin (2013 Broadway musical): http://anightwithjanisjoplin.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/a-night-with-janis-joplin-494971 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Night_with_Janis_Joplin (Wikipedia). Study Guide: http://anightwithjanisjoplin.com/about.html (official website).

Randy Johnson (playwright and director): https://www.randy-johnson1.com/ (official website) and https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/randy-johnson-493057 (Internet Broadway Database).

AUTHOR:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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