Pasadena Playhouse sponsors St. Patty’s Day rock ’n’ roll party to help promote its new musical about Janis Joplin
By Carl Kozlowski 03/14/2013
Since its opening in 1917, the Pasadena Playhouse has been regarded as one of the most respected and beloved theaters in the country.
This Sunday, St., Patrick’s Day, the Playhouse will also become known as a great place to hear classic rock and blues tunes when it hosts the free community block party and concert “Shamrock-N-Roll at the Playhouse,” featuring four live bands, professional ’60s-style dancers, food trucks, a beer garden and the actual 1965 Porsche in which Joplin used to hit the streets of Los Angeles.
All the hoopla is tied to the opening that night of “One Night with Janis Joplin,” a new rock ’n’ roll musical that stars Mary Bridget Davies as the legendary blues-rock singer who died of a heroin overdose at the tragically young age of 27 in 1970.
The show includes a live onstage band and features many of Joplin’s top tunes, including “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Ball and Chain” and “Summertime,” in addition to many of the classic blues songs that inspired her by artists such as Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.
“The Greater Los Angeles area is deeply tied to rock and roll and to the life and career of Janis Joplin,” says Playhouse Executive Director Elizabeth Doran. “Where better to celebrate her music? The Playhouse also has a long history of exploring the roots of great American music, in particular the blues, with musicals like ‘Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Story’ and ‘Ray Charles Live!’ This show continues that tradition, amps it up and is absolutely electrifying.”
Indeed, the atmosphere should be electric right outside the Playhouse, along El Molino Avenue, throughout the Shamrock-n-Roll event, which takes place from 1 to 10 p.m.
Dread Zeppelin, a long-popular cover band that humorously reworks Led Zeppelin’s beloved songs in reggae styles, headlines the outdoor music, topping a bill that also includes ’60s-themed cover bands the Cerny Brothers, Shillaly Brothers and Aquarius.
The Cherry Boom Boom Dancers will perform ’60s-style dancing in the evening hours, and from 6 to 9 p.m. Joplin’s own psychedelically painted, 1965 365c Porsche Cabriolet will be on display, along with other classic Porsches. Joplin’s car is on loan to the Sierra Madre Collection and its display is in conjunction with the Grammy Museum and the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, both in the rock ’n’ roll party spirit and because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, there will be a beer garden sponsored by Stone Brewing Co. selling beer, wine and concessions. In addition, several local food trucks and the coffee shop Zona Rosa will be hosting live music and a local rock ’n’ roll-themed art gallery, in addition to selling coffee beverages.
Rounding out the fun is local crafting store little junebugs, which will host face painting, “Crafty Bingo” and “Adult Crafting Cork Art” at various points in the day.
“This has indeed been a bold and successful season, with plenty more to come,” says Doran. “We are embracing our distinction as California’s state theater, as well as our connection to the national scene. Both in service to our community and as a national stage we will explore every aspect of theater, but absolutely part of that exploration will be producing high-energy juggernaut music shows like ‘One Night with Janis Joplin.’”
“Shamrock-N-Roll” will be from 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Admission is free, although food and drinks are for sale. The Playhouse will also present “One Night with Janis Joplin” from Friday through April 11. Tickets are $64 to $94, with premium seating from $100 to $125. Call (626) 356-7529 or visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.