‘Happy Birthday, Janis!’ postponed to Saturday, Feb. 19 | TheUnion.com
YOUR AD HERE »

‘Happy Birthday, Janis!’ postponed to Saturday, Feb. 19

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

UPDATE

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases locally, the Happy Birthday, Janis show has been postponed to one night only on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY

Had she lived, famed singer Janis Joplin would have turned 79 on Jan. 19. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer died from a drug overdose in 1970. In honor of the icon, LeGacy Presents co-founder Sue LeGate-Halford will reprise her role as the rock, soul and blues artist this weekend with two performances of “Happy Birthday, Janis!” taking place at the Nevada Theatre on Broad Street in Nevada City.

LeGate-Halford first became familiar with Joplin’s music while performing in an Off Broadstreet production, “Beyond Karaoke.



“I didn’t grow up listening to this music, I am just young enough to have missed that whole thing,” said LeGate-Halford. “I listened to David Cassidy, The Partridge Family, Donny Osmond, which was my music. So, it wasn’t until John Driscoll came in one night and asked me if I could do some Janis, and I said Janis who? Janis Ian? And of course, I had heard of her, but I didn’t know her music and I didn’t know her – I didn’t know how she was on stage, but with support and license I did it and I love doing her.” LeGate-Halford’s ability to transform into the persona of the music legend lead to requests to bring her back time and time again.

Joplin is probably best known for her renditions of “Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby” and her own “Mercedes Benz.”



In 2015, LeGate-Halford decided to hold a birthday party of sorts, not only performing songs Joplin is known for, but also adding popular music from the era. The show is not to be missed.

“Knowing it was Janis’ birthday, I said why don’t we think about something we could do – because we all love that music from the 50s on — who would be around to celebrate her birthday with her, musically.” Stating that part was pretty easy to put together, the evening includes popular songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and others from that era but has now expanded the repertoire to include similarly popular artists.

Joplin’s career was actually noticeably short — she rose to fame in 1967 and died three year later — but her music has become part of the American songbook and has influenced others who followed, including the likes of Amy Winehouse, who also died at the age of 27. LeGate-Halford said the show will include a Winehouse tune among others.

“They are very similar,” explained LeGate-Halford. “The fact that they drew on old blues standards and made something different out of them and of course, personally, I think Amy and Janis probably had a lot of the same demons. They were both the same age when the left us, which is very sad, but the fact that their music lives on, I think that is what is really important. The music stands for itself.”

Backed by a group of stellar musicians comprised of co-producer and husband David Halford on bass and married couple Paul Turner on guitar with Claire Diament-Turner on keyboard who contributes vocals as well. Drummer extraordinaire John Basa will keep the beat.

“‘They are just wonderful. We even have a little surprise coming up with Claire Diament-Turner and we are even going to do a little Petula Clark — a little bit earlier than Janis but out of the sixties – it’s a little crazy how many different musical styles were around in the sixties – so she has a few surprises she is going to show.”

“The music of the 60s is really important to our culture and to what we were doing at that time. She (Joplin) took old blues and old country and turned it into something else. The Stones did the same thing and look what The Beatles did. Look at what Sonny and Cher did. So, it’s all the music of that time,” said LeGate-Halford, explaining that the music appeals to a large population. “I see older people coming in — I just talked to a friend who is 88 and there is no way she is going to miss it — yet the young kids that just performed in Scrooge — 14, 15, 16-year-olds, are dying to come.”

LeGate-Halford takes on a different persona when she hits the stage, embodying her idea of what Joplin would be like.

“Doing Janis is kind of wild,” said LeGate-Halford. “I don’t know how it happens. I just got lucky. I have great musicians behind me and all I have to do is walk out there and let her rip. They follow me somehow. Once you are given license to fly with all the people around you, it lets you create things you never thought you could create.” She continued, “I would wager to guess there are a lot of people — especially people who do other celebrities as much as I have done Janis — probably feel the same way. You just don’t know until you have all the support behind you, going for it. What have you got to lose?”

As a side benefit, The Food Bank of Nevada County will run concessions in the lobby of the newly renovated Nevada Theatre with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit that was just hit especially hard during the recent holiday storm.

General admission tickets for “Happy Birthday, Janis!” are only $22 in advance and are available at The Bookseller and Harmony Books, online at http://www.legacypresents.com or by calling 530-268 5419. Special reserved seating is available at $35, online or box office. Showtime is 8 p.m. both nights.

LeGate Halford said, “I love it. It’s fun. It’s our music. We all get together and just love it together and I think that is really cool. If we can’t embrace that now, then wow. Look at our political climate, our medical climate, our social climate. Just throw all of it to the side and come out and enjoy the music of that time. I love seeing the older folks and the young ones all coming out together. It’s cool.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Happy Birthday, again! Janis!

WHO: LeGacy Presents

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21 and 22. Showtime is 8 p.m. both nights.

WHERE: The Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St, Nevada City

MORE INFO: Visit http://www.legacypresents.com or call 530-268 5419

TICKETS: $22 in advance and are available at The Bookseller and Harmony Books, online at http://www.legacypresents.com or by calling 530-268 5419. Special reserved seating is available at $35, online or box office

In honor of the icon, LeGacy Presents co-founder Sue LeGate-Halford will reprise her role as the rock, soul and blues artist this weekend with two performances of “Happy Birthday, Janis!” taking place at the Nevada Theatre on Broad Street in Nevada City.
Provided photo
Backed by a group of stellar musicians comprised of co-producer and husband David Halford on bass and married couple Paul Turner on guitar with Claire Diament-Turner on keyboard who contributes vocals as well. Drummer extraordinaire John Basa will keep the beat.
Provided photo

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User