She had us at Billie then Janice. But then she sings some Amy.
“The Accidental Club” makes its opens at Whitefire Theatre March 31. It’s tauted as “A Highly Addicting Musical” because the song-filled score contains original compositions by show creator Sherrie Scott as well as some classic jazz, blues and rock tunes from three musical talents, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.
Show synopsis: Mira Dawson, a washed-up rock star, dies of an accidental overdose and finds herself on the other side, hanging out at The Accidental Club, swapping stories, secrets and songs about life, fame, addiction and death with Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.
Mira wins their Angel of the Month Award. When you win, you get the chance to come back to earth for one night only to spend it however and with whomever you like. Mira chooses one final concert with her faithful fans. Billie warns her not to go, “Get ready for the pain, girl.” Janis tells her, “If it feels good, do it.”
She believes this is all just a crazy dream and that at any moment she’ll wake up. Throughout the concert, discoveries are made, as the clock ticks toward midnight, Mira becomes increasingly anxious as she realizes she’s not waking up---Will she? Will we?
Musical creator Sherrie Scott answered some of our questions.
What made you decide to create this musical?
After many years of composing, performing, writing, directing and collaborating on new plays, it was time for a solo adventure. I also had a story that had been percolating for a while about one of my favorite singers Eva Cassidy. She became famous five years after she died of cancer at age 33. I was curious what she would have to say if she could come back for one final concert. How would she view her sudden fame, life, death and current affairs? I’ve often had people come up after a concert and tell me I sound like her so it felt like a natural. Then I started thinking about some of my other favorite vocalists, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse. They had all died from accidental overdose or drug abuse. What would be their take on it all? Would they know the answer to the current epidemic of heroin overdose? I was inspired to dig deep into their stories, as well as try to find some of the possible answers to the root causes of addiction. The play then began to pour out of me along with the songs, and turned into The Accidental Club.
Do you have a favorite song from the show?
It would be Girl In The Window. I wanted to write a song for Janis about the loneliness and isolation of fame that can sometimes lead to addiction.
Who was the most difficult to sing and why?
I do a tribute song for each of the members of The Accidental Club. I don’t imitate them, but try to evoke the essence of each of these amazing singers. Janis is probably the most difficult because she was so in the moment with every single note. Her performance was so spontaneous and soulful yet intentional at the same time. Actually, the same could be said for all these singers. That’s what made them great.
Do you have advice to singers just starting out?
Take good care of your voice which means take good care of yourself. There is a line in the play when Billie gives my character Mira some singing advice. “Get out of your head and let your heart do the singing. Jump on in girl. You got to live your song.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think like all of us, the members of the Accidental Club were all searching for that feeling, that place of no self-doubt, no sorrow, no fear…the feeling of freedom. I’ve been there, so I know it exists, but sometimes it takes a while to find it, and sometimes you get lost on the way. Maybe that’s why we’re here…to help each other out before it’s too late. We’re not meant to do this thing alone. We all deserve to feel free.
Speaking of not doing this thing alone…I could not do this show without my incredibly talented team; director Trace Oakley, accompanist Noel Deis and producer Chip Frye. There will be talk backs after each performance and we’re hoping to have some guest speakers. Thank you and hope to see you there!
The leading cause of accidental death in the US is drug overdose with 13,000 Americans having tragically and unnecessarily died from heroine overdose in 2015 alone, nearly a 600 percent increase from 2005. And thisis just the tip of the iceberg.
If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to the National Substance Abuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP.
About Sherrie Scott
Sherrie Scott trained at the University of Iowa and was a member of their prestigious Playwrights Actors Ensemble as well as a professional member of The Boston Theater Group. She has acted, written, collaborated on and directed numerous original productions including the highly acclaimed Caught in the Act, Miscalculation of the Heart, Something’s Going On, The Executive’s Sorcerer and Bitten by a Snake. She is also a recording artist, composing for film and television, and has several albums and soundtracks to her credit. She continues to grace stages across the US and abroad.
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