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A Night with Janis Joplin :: Kelly McIntyre is Bringin' It On

by Bill Biss
Saturday Aug 12, 2017

"I do think her music is timeless. I definitely loved listening to rock n' roll growing up. I listened to her stuff quite a lot." That's Kelly McIntyre, who portrays both the persona and the vocalist known as Janis Joplin, in "A Night With Janis Joplin" this month at the Laguna Playhouse.

When, like Janis, did McIntyre discover she was able to bring forth the hurricane of strength and sadness in her voice? "I definitely learned from the women who played the role before me. I learned a lot from watching them and talking to them. I also did a lot of research and listened to a lot of concerts that she had done to help and get the emotions out of me of what she was giving out back then."

Laughing together when asked if she has iced tea or water in her Jack Daniels bottle when performing on stage, McIntyre replied, "Oh yeah. It's just water!" She went on to explain the process of working with writer/director Randy Johnson and what he saw in her to take on this part. "It's been a joy working with Randy. He is giving light to musical legends who were sometimes portrayed in the wrong way, or differently and celebrating their music and their influences. He is giving a lot of stage time to strong musical women. I love his shows and he is a wonderful director and very, very loyal and supportive to all the women who he has cast."

McIntyre went on to share what her audition for the role was like. "When I was auditioning for him in New York City two years ago for the role, I think he saw definitely some stamina and a lot of potential in terms of a hard work ethic and the willingness to put in the work to get the character where it needs to be. Hopefully, some spunk to play the role, too. He was looking for someone who could sing it for a while."

Asking about the transformation into the character of Janis Joplin-other than the actual live performance of her music-how did Kelly go about infusing this woman into her performance for "A Night With Janis Joplin?" "I think that she, mostly by the public, was kind of misunderstood. She was just a free soul, I think. She had a very similar childhood and life to anyone else, who has a family and siblings and wonderful parents. She was extremely intelligent, loved her family and had a lot of friends. You know, obviously with the age and the time and how quickly she got famous and the lifestyle; she was a little bit lonely. But, I think that everyone can relate to that. She was a young star, she was extremely bright, fun and funky. So, I kind of just hang on to those things. Yeah, she led an extremely normal life up until her rock n' roll explosion."

One of the lesser known facts about Janis is that she was a talented artist. McIntyre adds, "A wonderful artist. We show some of her work in the show as well. Make sure people know that she was also an artist and had other creative outlets beside from singing."

There are also additional women who share the stage as Janis Joplin's musical influences. Kelly elaborates on this. "I think that's the most important part of the show. They had such a big influence on her. Janis Joplin wouldn't have been who she was if it weren't for them. I think every artist can say is that they are who they are because of their influences. She loved blues, she love soul music and all kinds and that made her into this timeless, worldly musician who she was."

In closing, McIntyre emphatically added, "It's a celebration of her music and her life. Instead of her demise... we like to focus on that stuff more."

"A Night With Janis Joplin" is playing Wednesday, August 16 through Sunday, September 10 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. LGBTQ Pride Night at the Playhouse takes place on Sunday, August 27. For tickets and more info, call 949.497.2787 or go to lagunaplayhouse.com

Copyright Rage Monthly. For more articles from Rage visit www.ragemonthly.com


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