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PASADENA PLAYHOUSE SUMMER 2017

Based on Gayle Wald's in-depth biography of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, this musical promises to be an eye-opening and toe-tapping look into the true roots of American music history. Touted as the Godmother of Rock & Roll and credited with influencing musical giants from Elvis Presley to Tina Turner, how is it that we've rarely heard of the electric guitar wielding, gospel singing, African-American woman from the 1940s? It's time to give credit where credit is due, to honor this woman whose passion, skill and showmanship shaped musical history, yet has been largely overlooked. It's time to SHOUT SISTER SHOUT!

 

 

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT! is an important and remarkable story of how one woman's life is as relevant today as it was during her lifetime. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, otherwise known as the Godmother of Rock and Roll, has influenced the great iconic rockers of our time and remains an authentic influence on the lives of today's youth in spirit, courage and diversity.

Our story is told through the eyes of Isaiah, a gifted yet troubled youth, at a crossroads in his life. After experiencing tragedy at an early age, he is seeking answers and inspiration in all the right and wrong places. Through the music, spirit and life of Gospel and Rock pioneer, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Isaiah begins a remarkable journey of self-discovery, and ultimately find his own truth through her inspirational life story.

 

Conceived & Directed by:  Randy Johnson

Book by: Cheryl L. West

Based on the biography by Gayle Wald: 

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT!

History: SISTER ROSETTA THARPE

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was anything but ordinary and plain; she was a big, good-looking woman and divine, not to mention sublime and splendid. She was a powerful force of nature – a guitar-playing, singing evangelist.
— Bob Dylan

Long before "women in rock" became a media catchphrase, African American guitar virtuoso Rosetta Tharpe proved in spectacular fashion that women could rock. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, Tharpe was gospel's first superstar and the preeminent crossover figure of its golden age (1945–1965).
 
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a trailblazing performer who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Little Richard to Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Etta James. Tharpe was raised in the Pentecostal Church, steeped in the gospel tradition, but she produced music that crossed boundaries, defied classification, and disregarded the social and cultural norms of the age; incorporating elements of gospel, blues, jazz, popular ballads, folk, country, rhythm and blues, and rock-and-roll. Tharpe went electric early on, captivating both white and black audiences in the North and South in the U.S. and Internationally, with her charisma and skill. People who saw her perform claimed she made that guitar talk. Ambitious, flamboyant, and relentlessly public, Tharpe even staged her own wedding as a gospel concert in a stadium holding 20,000 people! 

A forgotten musical heavyweight whose long career helped define gospel, r&b, and rock music, a performer who resisted categorization at many levels-as a gospel musician, and an African American female, Tharpe demands that we rethink our most basic notions of music history and American culture. Her story forever alters our understanding of both women in rock and U.S. popular music.

 
 

Creative Team

A collaboration of artists whose work has been honored by the NAACP and the Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards.

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Music

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Video

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "Didn't It Rain"

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "That's All"

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "Up Above My Head"

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "His Eye is on the Sparrow"