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Thursday, 24th January 2019

A Night With Janis Joplin in San Francisco

Ana Pines
Keep N Touch

Ana Pines

Founder/Writer/Photographer/Entrepreneur. Often the only queer person of color at media events. You can't miss me! Want a different perspective, feel free to reach out and I'll be there.
Ana Pines
Keep N Touch

Kacee Clanton It’s fitting that the American Conservatory Theater is bringing “A Night with Janis Joplin” back to the Bay Area during the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. It’s estimated that nearly 100,000 artists, misfits, hippies, activist, anyone who was disgusted with current politics, consumerism, or just felt like an outsider united in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. It was a unique moment in history where people came together to look for a higher meaning in life through drugs, music, sexual freedom and social justice movements. Janis was a key component of the time period with a unique voice that lingers on playlists today.

Kacee Clanton revives the Janis Joplin role she played in 2013 in various theaters including San Jose Repertory Theatre, a national tour, and as the alternate on Broadway. Prior to, she had appeared in the Off-Broadway stage production Love, Janis in 2001. It’s no surprise that at this point in time she truly encompasses the spirit of Joplin, not only in her voice but also her demeanor.

Snippets from Joplin’s life and words of wisdoms compose the bulk of the dialogue. The music is what truly makes the show as Clanton commands the audiences attention with her renditions of Joplin’s top songs — “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby” and a sing-a-long to “Mercedes Benz” towards the end. Clinton pretends to take swigs of alcohol between songs reminding fans of Joplin’s trouble with sobriety and her death at 27 of a heroin overdose. It’s hard to believe sometimes that so many artists in that time period that changed music forever were so young; their work has so much meaning unlike many artists of the same age today.

Sylvia MacCalla

Sylvia MacCalla as Odetta.  Photo: Kevin Berne

Joplin is the headline but the true focal point of the show is the blues genre. It’s a concert a music lover could only dream of as Sharon Catherine Brown, Tamar Davis, Tawny Dolley, and Sylvia MacCalla play the legends—Nina Simone, Odetta, Etta James, Bessie Smith, and Aretha Franklin. They are the women of color that elicited the love of music in Joplin’s soul. Without these talented black women the Janis Joplin we remember today would not exist.  

Created, written, and directed by Randy Johnson, A Night with Janis Joplin features a creative team that includes Todd Olson (Music Director), Len Rhodes (Orchestrations), Mike Baldassari and Gertjan Houben (Lighting Designers), Amy Clark (Costume Designer), Rob Bissinger (Scenic Designer), Ben Selke (Sound Designer), Darrel Maloney (Projection Designer), Leah Loukas (Wig Designer), Patricia Wilcox (Choreographer), Tyler Rhodes (Associate Director), Jonathan Warren (Dance Supervisor).

A Night with Janis Joplin

Tickets for A Night with Janis Joplin are available at the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at

Ticket prices range from $20-$120.

The show ends July 2, 2017.