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Jan Kudelka talks family, theatre and Janis Joplin

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 13:56

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks to writer, actress and singer Jan Kudelka about her famous family, her storied theatre career, and her upcoming Birthday Bash concert for Janis Joplin.

Jan Kudelka is a talented actor, writer and singer whose career has taken her all over Canada and onto some of the most prestigious stages in the country. But along with the Stratfords and Royal Alex Theatres, she has also lived, breathed and cosmically channeled the words and music of psychedelic blues rock legend Janis Joplin for decades. She will display that relationship on Wednesday January 18th when she performs the third annual Janis Joplin Birthday Bash at the Tranzac Club.

Jan is member of one of the foremost families in the Canadian arts. Her brother Matthew is a successful photographer, and James Kudelka remains one of the most sought after choreographers in Canadian history. His versions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Cinderella remain high water marks in contemporary ballet.  The siblings are the product of immigrant parents who had a true affinity for the arts. All three took to their vocations thanks to a mix of support and expectation.

Jan’s career launched when she landed a role in the Toronto debut of the 1960s cult musical theatre hit, ‘Hair’. Shortly after that run, it was a stint at Stratford, performing alongside the likes of Maggie Smith and Jessica Tandy. From there she performed at the Caravan Farm and Stage Theatres, and eventually settled in British Columbia. Despite her many experiences on stage, Jan yearned to write and create her own works. An early fascination of the songbook and spirit of musician Janis Joplin helped plant the seeds of what would eventually become one of her signature stage works. She was asked to put together a one woman show on the iconic singer, and while reluctant at first, she ended up creating a spoken word and musical celebration of the legendary blues rock Goddess. ‘Janis/Janus’ enjoyed a successful tour and rave reviews.

On Wednesday January 18th, Jan Kudelka will take elements of that one woman show and perform a spoken word and musical experience alongside her JanisWorld band, including David Gray on guitar, Tyler Wagler on bass, Michelle Willis on keyboards and Martin Worthy on drums.

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore spoke to Jan Kudelka in the JAZZ.FM91 studios.

Jan Kudelka conjures and celebrates the beloved blues rock trailblazer Janis Joplin with a 74th birthday bash Wednesday at the Tranzac Club, that’s 292 Brunswick, near Bloor. Tickets are $35.00, cash only and available at the door the night of the show beginning at 6pm on-wards. Showtime is 8:30pm. You can also text your RSVP to (416) 902-9931

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the JAZZ.FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

To get in touch with Mark it’s

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