New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jody, Janis and Stevie, Together Again: Three faces of Shore music legend Jody Joseph are onstage at Monmouth U

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) –- In this corner, the iconic Janis Joplin — the Texas tornado who so briefly and decisively tore across the musical landscape of the late 1960s, schooling that peace-and-love generation in the meaning of the blues.

On the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum, Stevie Nicks — the California curiosity-shop coquette whose elf-queen persona has been described as having "cast an arcane and eldritch spell — turning the wasteland of mainstream music into a lush forest (and scattering small woodland creatures before her formidable boots)."

Ask Monmouth County singer, songwriter and teacher Jody Joseph what these rock doyennes have in common, and she'll tell you "absolutely nothing. Nothing in common." On closer investigation, however, the long-gone Joplin and the still-touring Nicks share a very real bond — one that goes by the name of Jody Joseph.

A performer of impeccable musical pedigree (her family tree includes both cousin Jon Bon Jovi and the beloved American tenor Mario Lanza), the diminutive dynamo known as "The Hardest Working Woman in Shore Business" has long been a familiar figure at venues up and down the New Jersey coast, from a host of favorite neighborhood watering spots to the legendary stage of the Stone Pony.

On the evening of Saturday, October 22, Jody Joseph and her band (Bill Frank, Robert Kipp, Jon Rotman, Candice Theinert, Steve Brown,  Jon "Huey" Tatlow and B. Jay Willis) take the stage of another high-profile Shore area venue — the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University — for a special concert presentation entitled One Diva, One Legend, One Woman. Produced in conjunction with Concerts East, the 8 p.m. event is presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series on the West Long Branch campus.

A newly revised edition of a show, conceptually created by Renee Ludwig, that was first seen at Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre in 2009, 1D1L1W is a three-part concert that presents the versatile vocalist (who regularly channels a jukebox-worth of female and male pop icons through her own considerable talents) in character as Joplin, followed in the second act by her interpretation of Nicks.

At the conclusion of the program — and at the heart of this labor of love — stands Jody Joseph herself; a writer of original compositions and a star-quality performer who's garnered widespread acclaim for such self-released recordings as Live at the Stone Pony and the 2010 inspirational ep On My Way Home.

"I've done Janis songs and Stevie songs for years, but I never thought of doing a whole show around either one," explains Joseph, adding that she "didn't want to spend a whole night being other people" without a chance to show how those artists have influenced her own work.

"My biggest fear is that when I'm wearing the Stevie boots, I'll spin right off the edge of the stage into the VIP seats!"

The one-night-only event is sponsored by Retro Fitness, Aerosoles, and The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center at Monmouth Medical Center, with a portion of the proceeds being dedicated to the American Cancer Society. Reserved seating includes a $48 VIP option that offers a meet-and-greet with the artist.