Best theatre I’ve seen in ages: Dorian Rush in LIVIN’ JANIS


I admit it: I’m biased. Dorian Rush and I have been friends for iforgethowlong. At least ten years, and we’ve worked together for nine of them. She’s the only actor to have appeared in every one of our shows, and she is undeniably brilliant. She can play serious, she can play comic, she can play a sublime concoction of the two, and, yes, she can sing like nobody’s business. Lord, yes she can.

Now, Dorian has done a Janis Joplin show before. A couple of years before the storm, she did a musical tribute thingamajig — sort of a cabaret in which Dorian (as Dorian) performed some of Joplin’s best-known songs. It was a great performance, mostly because Dorian can nail that sound, that gritty rock/blues sound, like no one I know. However, the story of Janis herself didn’t really engage me — but then, I’m not a Joplin fan.

So when Dorian said she wanted to do a similar show, I thought, “Well, that’s good. at least it’ll draw the Joplin devotees.” But then she said she intended to personify Janis, tell the story from Janis’ perspective, and she sent me a script. Two pages in, and I was hooked. Somehow, she’d managed to pull me in to a story that I was predisposed to hate, or at least not care about. I knew then that something was up.

I was meant to see a rehearsal, but the night I dropped by the theatre, it took her musicians a while to set up, so by the time they were ready to roll, I had to leave. I saw it cold Friday night, last night — opening night.

It was brilliant.

It was FUCKING brilliant.

It was omigod hold freaking crap where the hell did this come from, how did she get in that woman’s head, how did she build that story, and oh, that voice BRILLIANT.

I had zero to do with it, but I am so, so, so very proud.

If you have the chance: I’m not kidding, drop whatever the hell you’re doing and go see the show. It’s one weekend only, tonight and tomorrow, that’s it. Click here for ticket info and such. You will be very, very, very glad you did.

P.S. This is not a paid advertisement. I have nada to gain from this. Dorian put all this together on her own. It’s just that goddamn good.

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