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Lauren Dragon

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · October 12th, 2005 · Curtain Call
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  Lauren Dragon performs 19 songs in Love, Janis with a fiery passion and abandon reminiscent Janis Joplin's originals.
Sandy Underwood

Lauren Dragon performs 19 songs in Love, Janis with a fiery passion and abandon reminiscent Janis Joplin's originals.



Lauren Dragon was singing with a band at Allyn's earlier this year when one of her bandmates told her about something he'd read online: Sam Andrew, an original member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band fronted by Janis Joplin in the late 1960s, was looking for someone to sing Joplin's music. Dragon resisted contacting Andrew despite her friend's urging: "I said, 'Why? He's just going to tell me no.' " Andrew was touring Europe when Dragon's e-mail reached him; within three days, he checked out her Web site (www.laurendragon.com) and sent her a note: "Do you want a job?" Now she's one of two singers playing Joplin in the Cincinnati Playhouse production of LOVE, JANIS (running through Nov. 6), for which Andrew is music director. Dragon needed a crash course in acting (her background is all music, including a stint at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and singing everything from opera to Jazz), but she performs 19 Joplin tunes with a fiery passion and abandon that conjures up the original. In fact, Andrew says he knows of only two singers who can sing in Joplin's original key: "There's you," he told Dragon, "and Janis." What Dragon does beyond Nov. 6 is up in the air, but it's a good guess the connection with Joplin will continue. In the meantime, check out the Cincinnati native's performance here and now. Playhouse box office: 513-421-3888.

If you've enjoyed the hit musical Rent, you might want to catch the next production by the KNOW THEATRE TRIBE, which offers pay-what-you-can previews of the musical TICK, TICK ...

Lauren Dragon was singing with a band at Allyn's earlier this year when one of her bandmates told her about something he'd read online: Sam Andrew, an original member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band fronted by Janis Joplin in the late 1960s, was looking for someone to sing Joplin's music. Dragon resisted contacting Andrew despite her friend's urging: "I said, 'Why? He's just going to tell me no.' " Andrew was touring Europe when Dragon's e-mail reached him; within three days, he checked out her Web site (www.laurendragon.com) and sent her a note: "Do you want a job?" Now she's one of two singers playing Joplin in the Cincinnati Playhouse production of LOVE, JANIS (running through Nov. 6), for which Andrew is music director. Dragon needed a crash course in acting (her background is all music, including a stint at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and singing everything from opera to Jazz), but she performs 19 Joplin tunes with a fiery passion and abandon that conjures up the original. In fact, Andrew says he knows of only two singers who can sing in Joplin's original key: "There's you," he told Dragon, "and Janis." What Dragon does beyond Nov. 6 is up in the air, but it's a good guess the connection with Joplin will continue. In the meantime, check out the Cincinnati native's performance here and now. Playhouse box office: 513-421-3888. ...

If you've enjoyed the hit musical Rent, you might want to catch the next production by the KNOW THEATRE TRIBE, which offers pay-what-you-can previews of the musical TICK, TICK ... BOOM! starting Thursday. Rent, Larson's edgy rendition of La Bohème has become a worldwide favorite, perhaps magnified by his tragic death of an aortic aneurysm just weeks before it opened in 1996. The one-man Tick, Tick predated Rent by six years, written by Larson when he was turning 30; it's an autobiographical look at his own life, one that reaches out to anyone who has crossed that threshold. Expanded to a three-person show by script consultant David Auburn (playwright of Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof ), this production launches Know Theatre's 2005-2006 season at Gabriel's Corner (1425 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine). 513-300-5669. ...

If you plan to see Ensemble Theatre's production of PERMANENT COLLECTION, consider the 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday: In conjunction with InkTank, there will be a post-show discussion (around 4 p.m.) of the play's relevance to reality in Cincinnati. Artist Thom Shaw (this year's Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, the Taft Museum of Art's recognition program for outstanding African Americans in the field of art) will represent the artist's point of view; the Contemporary Art Center's Matt Distel will speak for curators; Cincinnati Herald Publisher Eric Kearney will moderate. It should be a stimulating conversation fostered by InkTank, focused on using the written word to provoke social change. ETC box office: 513-421-3555.

MINI REVIEWS
Putting It Together, a recent anthology of Stephen Sondheim's sometimes brittle show tunes, might be more aptly termed "pushing them apart" -- it uses tunes written for other shows to portray two couples at a party (one older, one younger) involved in relationships that don't quite work. Unfortunately, the revue, getting its first local production by Showbiz Players at the renovated Westwood Town Hall, doesn't quite work either, despite the five talented performers, each of whom has been recognized by the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Too many numbers feel shoehorned into circumstances that weren't intended, leaving the singers with little context for performing. Only Sherry McCamley (singing a role played by Carol Burnett in a short -- and unsuccessful -- run on Broadway in 1999) rises above the icy walls of this piece with several strong numbers, including "Could I Leave You," "Ladies Who Lunch" and the witty "Not Getting Married Today." (Rick Pender) Grade: C+

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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