SAN DIEGO, CA – Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the godmother of rock-n-roll, and her protégée Marie Knight, shake, shimmy and swing into Cygnet this January for the West Coast Premiere of Marie and Rosetta. This play with music runs January 16 to February 16, 2019 at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town.
Audiences will get a front-row seat to music history in the making. Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a legend in her time and a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and Ray Charles. She was so influential, in fact, that just this year she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Marie and Rosettachronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duos in music history. This story of letting loose, finding your voice, and freeing your soul is a soaring music-theatre experience chock full of roof-raising performances that are sure to inspire patrons of all ages.
American playwright George Brant (Grounded) was inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s transgressive nature. “She pushed the boundaries of what’s acceptable musically…And always with a smile on her face, kind of a coy ‘oh, did I just do that?’ style about her that made it very hard for someone to condemn her for it.” Brant’s play will give us insight into what it was like to see Rosetta and Marie Knight play together live, but more importantly, it gives Sister Rosetta long overdue recognition. A eulogy of sorts for one of only three women named to Mojo Magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
“What we know as rock ’n’ roll did not exist before Sister Rosetta Tharpe “says director Rob Lutfy. “Rosetta could sell out a baseball stadium with her music. Two of the songs that critics point to when they name her as the creator of rock are in this show. So why was her funeral attended by only a handful of people? Why was the godmother of rock and roll buried in an unmarked grave until 2008? Why did it take until this past year to have her inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? In a male dominated field, perhaps giving a black, gospel singing woman all this credit was hard for some (men).”
Cygnet is excited to welcome two newcomers to its stage. Stepping into the role of Sister Rosetta Tharpe is Noel Simone Wippler, a multi-instrumentalist, dancer, actor, and songwriter born and raised in Harlem, New York. Her protégée, Marie Knight, will be played by Amaiya Holley, a NYC resident and recent graduate of Bowie State University. Both actors will play live instruments as they belt out stirring gospel sounds.
The stellar creative team that will be transforming the Cygnet stage into a 1946 Mississippi funeral parlor includes Elizabet Puksto as Set Designer. Anne E. McMills is Lighting Designer. Costumes are by Chanel A. Mahoney, andPeter Herman will provide wigs and makeup. Rachel Hengst is Properties Designer. Leonard Patton will provide musical direction. Matthew Bantockwill stage manage.
Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street in San Diego Old Town Historic State Park, by calling 619-337-1525 or by visiting www.cygnettheatre.com. Children 15 and under receive half-off tickets with each paid adult.
Cygnet is excited to welcome two newcomers to its stage.
Directed by: Rob Lutfy – Music Director: Leonard Patton
Set Designer: Elizabet Puksto – Costume Designer: Chanel A. Mahoney – Lighting Designer: Anne E. McMills – Sound Designer: TJ Fucella – Wigs and Makeup Designer: Peter Herman° – Properties Designer: Rachel Hengst- Stage Manager: Matthew Bantock
Amaiya Holley: Marie Knight – Noel Simone Wippler: Sister Rosetta Tharpe
*Member of Actors Equity Association, °Resident Artist
Previews begin: Wednesday, Jan 6 – Closes: Saturday, Feb. 16
Weds & Thurs 7:30 p.m. – Friday 8:00 p.m. – Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. – Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- Designer Showcase – January 22
- Theatre on Tap – January 25
- Wine Night – January 31
- Pre Show Stage Chats – February 6 and 13
- Post Show Stage Chats – February 8 and 15
PRICE: $35 – $65 with discounts for preview performances
In Person: Cygnet Theatre – 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego, CA 92110
ABOUT CYGNET THEATRE
Cygnet Theatre Company produces a year-round season of professional Off-Broadway-style theatre as well as thought-provoking and engaging educational programming. Cygnet is committed to maintaining high standards of artistic and fiscal integrity, and serves more than 40,000 patrons annually from San Diego and beyond. Cygnet performs its mainstage productions at the state-of-the-art theatre in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. An active member of the San Diego community, Cygnet has outreach programs serving tens of thousands of students and community members annually. For more information, visit www.cygnettheatre.com