American Conservatory Theater was having its first season in San Francisco when Janis Joplin became a household name, in 1967. Fitting then, that the closing work for A.C.T.’s 50th anniversary season should be A Night with Janis Joplin, which celebrates her iconic growly sound with the songs that made her famous, and the singers that influenced her. Her younger siblings Michael and Laura Joplin have been shepherding the legacy of their sister after her death.
There’s more information about the show at the A.C.T. website
“As a teenager, I was ecstatically proud,” Michael Joplin says. “She kept sending pictures of the band, and all these hippies, and I would show my friends, and I loved it. So I was really proud of her, and then when the Ed Sullivan show happened, all the neighbors came and we watched Ed Sullivan, you know, cause that was the epitome, and our parents were ecstatic with pride. She was on the Ed Sullivan Show, man, come on… You know, it’s pretty cool.” Music was all around them as children, says Laura Joplin: “It was also interesting to see what she had done with essentially the incubator of our family. Our mother had been a Broadway type singer, our father was into classical music, the house was full of LPs, and Janis is doing Porgy and Bess her way.” Kacee Clanton is channeling the bluesy singer for this production, but Laura Joplin says it’s not meant to be an impression: “I think the way we’ve come to look at it is, you replicate the emotion. So that you can see the audience, you know, that flame starting to grow. And I think that they really do give people the experience of the music.”