…Is this: It’s bad. It’s so bad, so not even a real Broadway show, that it’s not worth hating.
Which isn’t to say there weren’t moments I considered hating it. There totes were. I resented the moment the audience gave FAKE Bessie Smith entrance applause so deeply I couldn’t contain the urge to lean over to Lucky and complain. And at one point in the second act, while struggling to maintain awake-ness, I actually facepalmed over some choice dialogue failure that I have since erased entirely from my brain. Because who has room for that kind of shit? I’d much rather leave more space for maintaining accurate records of Harry Styles’ underwear preferences.
But like… the idea of giving this show a full, fully nasty review, as if it were really a musical and not a thinly veiled Myrtle Beach tribute concert, is ridiculous. It’s not worth it. We’re talking about 2.5 hours of performance that never once addresses Janis’ addictions or love affairs. There’s no story arc here–the work has no soul of its own. And that’s… not really a show at all. Not in the Broadway sense.
Which sucks. Because that’s a tragic waste of Mary Bridget Davies’ not inconsiderable talent. Homegirl is wailing her pipes out up there, and putting on a pretty credible performance as well, you know, in the moment or two where she is actually given some acting to do.
So I guess what I mean is this– If you really love Janis Joplin, like, to the point you kind of still wish she was alive, then hie thee to the Lyceum and pretend it’s 1969 again. You’ll have a great time. The scads of (slightly drunk) post-menopausal women losing their minds in the seats all around us certainly did. Too bad there isn’t a House of Blues nearby where you can grab dinner after the show like you’re really in Myrtle Beach after all.
Photo: Jenny Anderson