Star says Joplin show celebrates singer’s life

Kelly McIntyre doesn’t see herself playing Maria Von Trapp or Eliza Doolittle. At least not anytime

Kelly McIntyre doesn’t see herself playing Maria Von Trapp or Eliza Doolittle. At least not anytime soon.

The Newton, Massachusetts native and 2015 Hartt School of Music graduate is busy with a much different kind of character these days, playing the title role in Randy Johnson’s “A Night With Janis Joplin,” which will open on Friday at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany,

‘A Night With Janis Joplin’

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl St., Albany

WHEN: Previews Friday through Sunday; Opens Tuesday and runs through Aug. 7; performance times vary

HOW MUCH: $55-$25; $16 for students with valid ID

MORE INFO:, 445-7469

“I’m not necessarily the most cookie-cutter musical theater lead,” said McIntyre in an email conversation with the Gazette last week. “I usually see myself in more edgy, rocker or pop roles. However, I do love traditional or classic musical theater, but I think you’ll see me in more contemporary, rock or pop musicals.”

Joplin moved from Texas to San Francisco in 1963 and changed the way women could approach rock ’n’ roll. Originally the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company before basically becoming a solo act, Joplin had five singles hit the charts between 1964 and her death due to a drug overdose in 1970 at the age of 27.

Her loud, uninhibited style on songs such as “Take a Piece of My Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee” won her legions of fans, whether the genre was psychedelic rock or blues rock. McIntyre, born two decades after Joplin left the music world longing for more, wasn’t all that familiar with the rock n’ roll legend until recently, but says her musical influences were always quite diverse.

“I had heard Janis’ greatest hits growing up, but it wasn’t until college that I got into her deeper tracks and really became a fan of her music,” she said. “I do feel comfortable doing all types of musical entertainment. I’ve sung in bands, I’ve worked at theme parks, I’ve been in a cappella groups and choirs, and the list goes on. If I’m singing or playing music with people who also love to sing and play music, I’m happy.”

As much as she loves performing Joplin’s music, McIntyre says “A Night With Janis Joplin” was a big hit on Broadway because of the story.

“I believe the success of the show comes from the surprise of how much the audience doesn’t know about Janis’ personal life,” said McIntyre. “This show celebrates the light and the love of the music and the person that Janis was, instead of focusing on the darker parts of her career, which people usually do. There is music that the audience has never heard before, facts about Janis’ life that they never would have guessed, and a sense of audience community by the end of the show that is rare in musical theater to feel.”

Joplin, who performed at both the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967 and at Woodstock in August of 1969, was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1995 and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Joining McIntyre onstage, and playing roles as the Joplinaires, the classic girl group The Chantels and Joplin’s incredible muses, are Danyel Fulton (who also assays Joplin’s traditional roots), Jannie Jones, Nikita R. Jones and Kimberly Ann Steel.

The onstage band, led by music director and keyboardist Todd Olson, includes guitarists Michael Karcher and Nick Novelli, bassist Kevin Bohen, drummer Joe Barna, trombonist Dave Rydelnik and trumpeter Tim Wendt.

“A Night With Janis Joplin” opened on Broadway in October of 2013 and earned Mary Bridget Davies a Tony nomination for her performance in the lead role. McIntyre played Joplin in the national tour earlier this year, as did Kristin Piacentile, who will also fill in for McIntyre for certain performances this month at Cap Rep. Johnson, the show’s creator, is also directing the Cap Rep production.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment

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