Shout, Sister, Shout!

Aug 1, 2017

Bob Dylan remarked that Sister Rosetta Tharpe was “a powerful force of nature, a guitar playing, singing evangelist.”

Through August 20, Tracy Nicole Chapman portrays Sister Tharpe in a production directed by Randy Johnson who received a 2014 Tony Award nomination for his production of A Night with Janis Joplin.

Chapman has portrayed Shenzi in The Lion King on Broadway, as well and Florinda in Into the Woods, Ethel Toffelmeir in The Music Man, and the Acid Queen in The Who’s Tommy.

“I searched long and hard to find the follow up to my most recent Broadway musical A Night With Janis Joplin,” says Director Johnson in an interview with ThisNThat. “When I read Gayle Wald’s book ‘Shout, Sister, Shout!’ I knew this was it. It’s a life story of humble beginnings, unparalleled drive and ambition, fierce determination with a talent to match,” said Creator and Director Randy Johnson.

Rosetta Tharpe is not a well known name, but to those who know their music and the history of music, she is often “credited with helping create rock ‘n’ roll.¹


Tracy Nicole Chapman.


Michelle Mills of the SGV Tribune says Shout, Sister, Shout! is not a typical tribute show. “Rather, it consists of a collection of scenes that offer insights into who Tharpe was and how she came to be the talent she was, along with 28 musical numbers and a live orchestra.”

Charles McNulty of the LA Times dislikes the plays framing device of Tharpe needing to return to Earth to help a suicidal young musician (before she can enter the pearly gates of heaven), though he does say that Chapman is a “sensational singer and performer,”² and allots praise to Logan Charles playing Isaiah, the suicidal young man, and Yvette Carson who plays Rosetta’s mother and later Mahalia Jackson.


Photo: Jim Cox Photography.


Shout, Sister, Shout!
Through Aug. 20, times vary
Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena 91101
Tickets: $200$121
Ph: 1.626.356.7529
For details, visit


Sister Rosetta Tharpe.


Special events:

July 26-August 20: Gibson Guitar Interactive Experience
The Gibson Guitar exhibit features over 20 new models of Gibson Epiphone Guitars and is available for a “test drive” or photo opportunities in the Friendship Center. And, exclusively on display is Gibson’s famous Guitar Throne: an 8-foot replica throne of Gibson Les Paul Guitars.

The Gibson Guitar Interactive Experience is generously provided by Gibson Brands, of the world’s leading music and audio lifestyle companies.

Fridays:  August 4, 11 & 18 at 7:30 p.m.: School of Rock Pasadena
Hear live performances by students of School of Rock Pasadena featuring hits by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the artists she inspired – Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and others.

Sunday, August 6 at 6 p.m.: 88.5 KCSN’s Nic Harcourt
Nic Harcourt, regarded as an ultimate “tastemaker” in music and has been credited with launching the careers of Adele, Coldplay, The Black Keys, Norah Jones and others, will curate one-hour of music inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.





¹ “How a Gift Store Find Led to the Creation of Shout, Sister, Shout!” by Michelle Mills, July 24, 2017, San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

² “Pasadena Playhouse’s Shout, Sister, Shout!: Why a rock trailblazer fails to ignite as theater” by Charles McNulty, August 1, 2017, LA Times.







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