Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sophie B. Hawkins in Janis Joplin Musical is Must See at Macha Theater in West Hollywood

A Janis Joplin musical, currently playing through the end of December 2012 (unless extended again) is Room 105 The Highs and Lows of Janis Joplin at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood.  Sophie B. Hawkins who has had her own independent rocker career brings Janis Joplin to life in this emotional performance, hitting all the right notes, in this small theatre setting, where there is not a bad seat in the house.  This musical play written and directed by Gigi Gaston is a self reflection on Janis' live as she interacts with past lovers, and even TV talk show host, Dick Cavitt, and how she was perceived by high school classmates (in a return to Port Arthur for a high school reunion).  Going to this show is like attending a Janis Joplin cover band show, as 9 cuts are interwoven into the script, complete with a backup band.  Of course you will find, Me and Bobby McGee, which is probably the musical highlight of the show, which as we all know was written by Kris Kristoferson.  There is an inside joke, as to why the production team was not able to license perhaps the most famous Janis song, Mercedes Benz, and I will not give it away here.

The Janis Joplin production also made good use of Woodstock footage integrated into the production, in which the entire story arc is a conversation in the mind of Janis Joplin's spirit.  Now that I might have gotten you into the Janis Joplin spirit, while finishing the rest of this blog post, click here to listen to Sophie B. Hawkins electrifying performance as Janis Joplin in Room 105.

While watching this east Texas legend and blues artist, Janis Joplin, come to live by Sophie B. Hawkins, I remembered my own "California sun" drive to and from Baton Rouge and New Orleans (which is called out in Bobby McGee). On this California road trip with my late wife Karen, we overnighted in Beaumont, Texas (near Janis hometown of Port Arthur), and I fondly looked at the hotel rack cards promoting the Museum of the Gulf Coast, that has a permanent exhibit on the life and career of Janis Joplin, including a recreation of her psychedelic Porsche.  At the time, we thought about taking the time to see this Janis exhibit, but we needed to stay on schedule.  Thus, seeing Room 105, The Highs and Lows of Janis Joplin, gave me a much needed Janis Joplin fix.


The production values in this Janis Joplin tribute are excellent, and I would hope that the producers of this very entertaining show, might figure out a way to stage this again at special events like before the Grammy awards at let's say the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.  Janis Joplin did receive  a life achievement award from the Grammy awards in 2005, many years after passing away (right here in Hollywood) at 27 in 1970, which was only one year after Woodstock.

You can read even more about Sophie B. Hawkins and her Janis Joplin performance on her own website.  And if you want to catch a local performer who also does great covers of some Janis Joplin songs, along with her own original material, check out Alice Wallace who is currently competing for best Orange County band.

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