March 22, 2013
Out in Los Angeles, critics and audiences are raving about Randy Johnsonâ€™s â€œOne Night with Janis Joplin,â€ starring Mary Bridget Davies as Joplin. Reaction to the show has been so positive â€” it has played to equally ecstatic reviews in Washington, D.C., and other spots across the country â€” that theater types say the Great White Way is â€œOne Nightâ€™s…â€ next stop. It will play at Pasadena Playhouse until April 21.
For many years the story of Joplinâ€™s short, tragic life has been optioned for various screen treatments. Nothing has ever jelled. I always say that the tale has already been told, under the title â€œThe Rose.â€ This was a fictionalized version of Janis, but the similarities were quite obvious. Especially as â€œThe Roseâ€ was played by Bette Midler in what is the greatest dramatic performance of her career. The phone booth scene alone (you fans know what I mean) should have won Bette the Oscar hands down. Midler was nominated, but lost to Sally Field. No offense to the talented two-time Oscar winner, Sally, so great with Daniel Day-Lewis as Mary Todd Lincoln, but that year there was simply no comparison.
In any case, Joplin remains a fascinating figure, â€œThe Judy Garland of Rock and Rollâ€ as Rolling Stone rather cruelly noted. (Janis was not pleased with this comparison to the recently deceased Garland.) Maybe â€œOne Night with Janisâ€ will make it to Broadway and then finally the movies. Until then, weâ€™ve got â€œThe Rose.â€