If these singers could come back for one night only, what would they say about life, fame, addiction and death?
By Clint Lohr
Sherman Oaks’ Whitefire Theatre, at 13500 Ventura Blvd., will present the West Coast Premiere of The Accidental Club, March 24th through April 28th, Friday nights only. It’s a new musical comedy-drama written and performed by actress, singer/songwriter and playwright Sherrie Scott.
In this one-woman performance (with piano accompaniment by Noel Deis), Scott plays the character Mira Dawson, a washed-up rock star trying to make a comeback, but who dies of an accidental drug overdose during her revival tour. She finds herself on the other side, with members of “The Accidental Club,” comprised of singers Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin. Mira believes this is all a crazy dream. She’s awarded “Angel of The Month,” allowing her to go back to earth for one night only, spending it however she wants. She decides on one last concert for her fans. As the clock ticks toward midnight, however, Mira finds she is not waking up from this “dream” and becomes increasingly anxious.
Winehouse died at 27 in 2011 of alcohol poisoning, Holiday died in 1959 at 44 due to cirrhosis of the liver and Joplin died at 27 in 1970 of a heroin overdose. Scott says these women were three of her favorite musical influences, believing they were all trailblazers in a man’s world.
The play is about how death clarifies the preciousness of life as seen through the eyes of famous female singers who have died from an accidental overdose. “Addiction is one of the central themes of the show,” says Scott. She believes social cruelty, “whether it takes the form of racism, bullying, sexual abuse or even fame, can result in the loneliness and isolation leading to addiction.” The play might morph into something bigger. Scott says she is thinking of adding additional club members, which could be a multi-person show with a full band.
Scott has been told she sings like the late, critically-acclaimed Washington, D.C.—based vocalist Eva Cassidy—another inspiration for the play—who died of cancer in 1996 at just 33. “If she could come back for one final concert, what would she have to say about it all,” questions Scott. Then she began to think of her other favorite singers – Joplin, Winehouse, and Holiday. “I think everyone can relate to their struggles and heartbreak on some level. They became famous—only to die young. People want to know why. What would have made a difference?” She says that after each show, there will be a talk back where the audience can ask questions of guest speakers.
In 2005, Scott and her husband, Chip Frye, founded Awareness Media, LLC., focusing on media projects regarding social and humanitarian issues. They hope to take The Accidental Club on a national tour.
For showtimes and ticket information call Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or visit TheAccidentalClub.com