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Pearl - Janis Joplin Story - Her life, her songs, her soul (NSW, Australia)


10 Jun 2015 - 1 Jan 2021

Short Synopsis

Pearl - 

A live Biopic

The music, obsessions and passions of Janis Joplin

A Vintage Funk Tour 

Pearl – The Janis Joplin Story is a jazz, blues, bohemian rock interpretational musical presentation, celebrating a woman who exploded onto the music scene and quickly became the queen of rock ‘n’ roll and mother of thrift shop vintage funk.  Joplin continually left audiences speechless with unforgettable hits like “Cry Baby” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”, “ Move Over” and many more. A story interwoven amongst 19 hit songs that shaped an era where love was fearless and rules were broken.

Reviews Feature

Fairfax release/

VOTED the ugliest guy on campus at her Texas high school, Janis Joplin remained a misfit for most of her 27 years.

 Her career as a singing star was cut short, but the raw power of her unique voice and subversively poignant lyrics has endured.

 The “rockumentary” Pearl (the singer’s nickname) is a homage to Joplin, charting her turbulent and brilliant career.

Written and produced by Chris Keeble, a long-time Newtown resident and unashamed “child of the ’60s”, the show should appeal to old rock fans and a growing band of younger converts to Woodstock era music.

Keeble has worked in theatre production and management for 30 years, starting at the Evan Theatre in Penrith.

“It wasn’t the sort of theatre I had studied, less Beckett and Moliere and more Jimmy Barnes on tour, but it got me started,” Keeble said. More recently she co-produced and toured a show of the music of Australian rock pioneers Stevie Wright and the Easybeats.

Pearl will follow a similar format of original songs, narrative and compelling imagery of Joplin’s life.

The show is led by lauded Sydney blues and jazz singer Liza Ohlback, who performs 18 Joplin songs and others that influenced her, or were written about or for her, including Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2 and Bessie Smith’s Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out.

Keeble says audiences shouldn’t expect pub rock but a cabaret telling a life story.

“There are Janis cover bands, but they don’t do a whole set of her music, because performing 90 minutes of Joplin is very difficult and there aren’t many singers who can do it,” she said.

Joplin’s voice is inimitable, but Keeble said Ohlback gave a masterful performance in her own style: “Liza is Sydney’s extraordinary singing force.”

Pearl is a showcase for other local musicians, including Jeremy Edwards and Rick Melick, whose original work will be played before the show and during the interval.

Joplin was a pioneer for hard drinking rock chicks and her songs of loneliness and isolation sound remarkable among today’s highly produced female soundscape.

 Joplin once remarked: “I didn’t have many friends and I didn’t like the ones I had.”

Keeble hopes Pearl will win her heroine new Sydney fans.

Written By
Chris Keeble
Directed By
Chris Keeble
Designed By
Jeremy Edwards Musical direction
Liza Ohlback/ Belle Hendrik
Availability Status
Generally available


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