Joplin’s legacy lives on through Mitrovich
Each year on the anniversary of her birth, there is a huge party in Port Arthur that started out as the Janis Joplin Birthday Bash. The party has morphed into the Annual Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame Show since the show is usedto introduce the new inductees. This year, the party will be 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Carl Parker Multi Purpose Center at Lamar State College-Port Arthur
Andra Mitrovich will be the featured performer to portray Janis Joplin, the legendary rock star who was born and raised in Port Arthur.
Mitrovich has been portraying Joplin since January 1993. She played Joplin for six years in "Beehive, The Sixties Girl Group Musical," and has spent the last ten years performing in "Love, Janis" for which she received the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1997. She has been nominated for many awards for her portrayal of Port Arthur’s own pearl, Joplin, also winning the 1993 Critic’s Table Award for Featured Actress in a musical for "Beehive.""
Singing was never Mitrovich’s plan. Growing up in La Marque, she thought she would be a police officer. She moved to Austin and attended Austin Community College.
While singing karaoke one night, a young man asked her to audition for his father’s band. "I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ I’ve always been around music because my mom was a singer, but it was weird that he was just like, ‘Hey audition for my dad’s band," Mitrovich said.
She sang with the band, "Axnelson," for four years. Then one of the members suggested she should try out for "Beehive" and thought it would be something that would suit her.
"I was like, ‘I’ve never done theater,’ and he asks me, ‘Do you have the part?’ I was like, ‘No.’ ‘Well then you have nothing to lose do ya?’ So I auditioned for the part of Janis Joplin and I got it," she said. She has been playing Joplin ever since. "I just feel so honored to be able to play someone like Janis. She was great" Mitrovich said.
Playing with Joplin’s own band, "Big Brother and the Holding Company" earned her an honorary induction to the Hall of Fame in 1999. She sang during the European tour of the "Holding Company" in 2005.
Her recent gigs have been with Galveston-based group "98 in the Shade," which will also be performing at the concert.
The band has been a mainstay on the Gulf Coast music circuit for more than years claims the bands bio. Starting out as "Salty Dog," the band became "98 in the Shade" in 1991, when Jim Pregler replaced founding member Jim Krebs, who retired for health reasons. The band took a six-year break and got back together in 2006 with original members Pregler, Mark Kingsley and Port Arthur’s Marty Monte, who joined the band in 1993, and newcomer, drummer, Vince Mejia.
Mitrovich joined the group after stopping in at a downtown bar, JuJu’s Hangout and Grill, while on vacation at home in Galveston. After playing a few numbers with the band, Mitrovich and group lead singer Pregler thought it would be fun if she joined them in a couple more performances while she was home.
"98 in the Shade" recently released its first CD, "Complicated" on which Mitrovich is a featured singer.
Other performers at the Jan. 19 Hall of Fame concert will be "The Beat Daddys" and "The Clique" with an appearance by Edgar Winter to pick up his induction to the Hall of Fame certificate. Winter is not scheduled to perform. The doors open at 7p.m.
The only places to get tickets in Orange County are at the Penny Record office on 333 Roundbunch in Bridge City and Harry’s Appliance 302 N. 10th in Orange. Tickets are $20 advance and $22 at the door. Children 12 and younger get in free at the door.