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PUBLICATION: BROADWAYWORLD.COM


A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN's Randy Johnson to Bring Rosetta Tharpe to the Stage in SHOUT, SISTER, SHOUT!

BroadwayWorld has learned that writer and director Randy Johnson (A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN -- Broadway and nationwide) has obtained the stage rights to Gayle Wald's biography Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Rosetta Tharpe (Beacon Press, 2007). The world premiere will be presented at the Pasadena Playhouse in January 2017.

SHOUT, SISTER, SHOUT! is the story of the trailblazing performer Sister Rosetta Tharpe who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Eric Clapton and Etta James. Rosetta Tharpe was gospel music's first superstar. A guitar virtuoso with a clear, ringing voice, she took the rich musical traditions of Black Pentecostal churches and made music for the world to enjoy. Audiences adored her and said she played guitar "like a man" -- even though men learned a thing or two from her.

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".

"As a big admirer of A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN, I'm thrilled to have Randy Johnson working on this new piece about Rosetta Tharpe," says author Gayle Wald, "Like Janis, Rosetta was a gifted performer and a dynamo on stage. She upends a lot of our cultural assumptions of what a 'guitar god' looks and sounds like."

Randy Johnson's A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN premiered on Broadway in 2013 to rave reviews and earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Mary Bridget Davies as Best Actress in a musical and is now running through August 23rd at the Pasadena Playhouse. A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN enjoyed tremendous success across the country in regional theatres prior to Broadway including Cleveland Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Arena Stage in Washington DC and Pasadena Playhouse breaking box office and attendance records in almost every city. It is the highest grossing production in the history of the Pasadena Playhouse.

Johnson's critically acclaimed work has been seen across the country and worldwide on Broadway, Off Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theatre, Wembley Arena, The Savoy Theatre, Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium, Las Vegas and Regional Theatres across the United States and Canada,. As a published playwright and director he has created theatrical musical portraits of such icons as Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley. Louis Prima and Keely Smith, and Conway Twitty. He is the original producer of ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE.  The NAACP Theatre Awards in Los Angeles nominated him in 2014 as Best Director for his work on A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN.

 
 
 

PUBLICATION: AMERICAN THEATER, A PUBLICATION OF THEATER COMMUNICATIONS GROUP

Pasadena Playhouse Announces 2016–17 Season, Sheldon Epps’s Last sEASON

The artistic director’s final season will include a new musical from Randy Johnson and Cheryl West.

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced its 2016–17 season, its final under artistic director Sheldon Epps. The season will include a world premiere musical SHOUT, SISTER, SHOUT ! by Randy Johnson and Cheryl West

“My final season as artistic director is made up of passion projects for me and for the artists involved.” Epps said in a statement. “These titles represent so many of the aspects of the art of the theatre that I truly love". Click Here for Official Press Release

 
 

Articles

Wald, Gayle, "Why We Keep Rediscovering the Flamboyant Godmother of Rock", Zocalo: Enterprise Magazine of Ideas, February 2, 2016.  HERE

Zimmerman, Ed, "The Legendary Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 5 Songs", Forbes.com, January, 10, 2016.  HERE