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"Katrina Chester's Limited Engagement

I guess being a Janis Joplin fan would be the most likely reason to buy tickets to Love, Janis. Being a New Yorker, it could very well be you've seen all the Broadway shows and are craving some fresh entertainment. The couple behind me was a perfect example of that, so starved for something new that even though they were very doubtful the person playing Janis could actually hold a candle to her they were willing to give it a chance. Katrina Chester's opening night was my reason for being there.

I first saw Katrina sing with her band Luxx back in '99. She floored me then and continues to do so with each and every single one of her performances. At first glance, you would not think this petite frame of a woman would be able to be heard past the first row. Not only is her voice extremely powerful, it reveals such strong emotion that is sure to capture you with the very first note. Now take all that and combine it with the attitude it takes to be heard in an all male female fronted band, it is not a far stretch to imagine her as Janis Joplin.

When Katrina had first told me she had been cast as the singing Janis and there was a spoken Janis (portrayed by Amelia Campbell) as well, the concept seemed odd. Love, Janis tells the story of Janis Joplin through her own words using letters sent to her family as well as interviews with Rolling Stone Magazine. It seems Joplin felt very much alone which creates the perfect situation for a dual role. Each Janis seemed to feed off as well as rely on the other. Katrina's and Amelia's chemistry intensified this even more. What touched me most was the underlying insight into Joplin's life, which was her need of acceptance and desire to achieve what she felt was a meaningful life. Isn't that something we can all relate to? Of course there was also the music, music, music.

As for the review, it was nothing short of spectacular. Janis fans of all ages jumped to their feet with excitement as Katrina sang the opening "Piece of My Heart". Even the ones who were doubtful anyone could ever emulate the true essence of Joplin remarked during the intermission, " she is truly amazing and prettier too". You just didn't want it to end!

Be sure to get yourself a ticket fast. Katrina's run is for limited time. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Village Theater at 158 Bleecker Street.

--Colette Tedeschi, "Inside Connection Magazine"


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