Rock 'n' Roll Heretic

third rail alive · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by CATHERINE BARNES

June 27, 2022 certified reviewer
tagged as: educational · drama · black · queer · guitar · rock · blues · music

What I liked

The show featured a strong cast, well-written script, interesting story, entertaining dialogue, and powerful singing.
I appreciated the way the show tackled difficult social issues such as sexual abuse in the church, cultural appropriation of black music by white artists, and the struggles that women and queer musicians face in the music industry. The storytelling brought these issues to light in a way that was real and relatable.
I appreciate that the playwright based the show on the life of Rosetta Tharp and mentioned that in the program notes; we need more stories of women musicians, especially instrumentalists!

What I didn't like

I sometimes had trouble hearing the actors’ dialogue. This may have been due to the acoustics of the theater or the specific place I was sitting.
I didn’t mind the length of the show; I thought the story warranted that amount of time. However, I would have liked an intermission to stretch my legs.
I would have liked more music, especially with a cast that included Brenda Lee Eager and Patti Henley.

My overall impression

A must-see for musicians and music fans.

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