Love, Janis | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
comment

The songs in Love, Janis--director Randal Myler's blast from the past--are far stronger than this musical's evasive text: singing them in effect returns the compliment of their creation, re-creating Janis Joplin. Considering how deeply she lived when she sang--and suffered when she didn't sing--that comes as no surprise. Alternating with Andra C. Mitrovich in the punishing role of the "singing," or public, Janis, Cathy Richardson matches Joplin in age, drive, and pyrotechnic voice--which, as Joplin admitted, bordered on screaming. She offers a cry for help in "Women Is Losers," a hymn to survival in "Piece of My Heart," and something almost serene in the ironic "Get It While You Can." Richardson also brings badly needed grit and backbone to the scenes with Catherine Curtin's weepy-warbly "speaking" Janis, a character who demands our pity too often. What Love, Janis offers nostalgic audiences is the performer they remember, not the woman who was killed by the excesses of her life. Royal George Theatre Center, 1641 N. Halsted, 312-988-9000. Open run: Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 PM; Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 5 and 9 PM; Sundays, 3 and 7 PM. $25-$45. --Lawrence Bommer

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Liz Lauren.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →