Marie & Rosetta is a music-theatre experience not to be missed. It’s a preview presented by the Cleveland Play House at the Rock Hall on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s all about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, 2018 Early Influence Inductee at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and how she lures gospel singer Marie Knight away from a competing show so the two can perform together. Rock Hall promises it will be history in the making. What a great way to delve deeper into the fascinating life of this astounding and strong musical presence?
Miche Braden will perform the role of Sister Tharpe and Chaz Hodges will portray Marie Knight. Cleveland Play House welcomes these two as they make the lives of these heroic women come alive. Tharpe and Knight put their heads together over their music, their lives, and their views about “The Almighty”. The story promises to tell their amazing story. Their lives and their music set the stage for what rock & roll could become. As women of color, they certainly forged a path for all musicians of color, and created such a strong presence for female musicians that music was never quite the same afterward.
The performances raise the roof, free the soul, and show what it means to let loose and find your voice. It’s a fitting and timely tribute to Tharpe; Rock & Roll’s “Godmother”. Anyone who’s curious about her work and life should see it.
Marie & Rosetta is scheduled on Rock Hall’s Klipsch Audio Main Stage at 2:30 pm, as part of an entire day devoted to learning how rock & roll was part of the civil rights movement. The performances begin at 10:30 am and run through the day, with the extraordinary Ryan Wolf will be there the entire day serving as DJ and event MC.
Other activities that day will be film screenings of Artists Unite at 10 am and Selma at 3 pm. This PG 13 film tells the story of three months in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the campaign for equal rights to vote. He campaign was violently opposed, and the events of Selma were dangerous.
In the Foster Theater at 12:30 pm, the history of rhythm and blues, and soul in Cleveland will be explored in Cleveland is the City. Hear the music of Kid Cudi, Tracy Chapman, the O’Jays and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and plenty in between to learn how Cleveland helped to birth rock and roll. The museum will accept donations on the day of hats, scarves, gloves, and coats to benefit Providence House.
Tickets are available for the day at General Admission prices, and they can be purchased online. The museum will close that day at 5:30 pm.
It’s an honor and a privilege to learn more about Dr. King’s work and the many musicians who contributed to supporting it. It was often the case that performing artists were right on stage with him, and certainly their music included themes about social injustice, social inequity, and the importance of respecting all colors of humanity. All in all, it’s a huge rock & roll celebration of the music and musicians which were integral to the Civil Rights Movement.