Janis Joplin was known for her pipes, so any singer who dares to emulate her must be a singer to the core. Enter stage left, Mary Bridget Davies, who is conquering Broadway eight times per week belting out Joplin’s bluesy showstoppers. Without shame, Davies admits that singing was not her first love.
“Dance is really what got me going,” but the opportunity to be in school plays introduced Davies to theatre. Beginning in third grade, she says, “I auditioned for all of them and got in. I was always in choir, but to actually pursue [singing], she was the third of the arts — it was dance, then theatre, then actual singing. But I love them all. They all fulfill a different place in your soul to complete you.”
For those who think Davies got a free pass to the Great White Way, she is a tried-and-true Musical Theatre performer who always dreamed of being on Broadway, but in a more traditional setting. “I saw myself doing Broadway in major knock-down, drag-out numbers like ‘Anything Goes’ or ‘42nd Street’. All I wanted to do was tap dancing. When I graduated high school, I went on a dance tour, and we came to the City and saw Cats. And I got to do a master workshop with ‘Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk.’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, I wanna do this forever!’” she laughs. “So to say, ‘Did you ever think you’d be on Broadway?’ Well, yeah, when I was a delusional kid taking 10 dance classes per week. But I had no idea I’d be starring as Janis Joplin!”
Davies has had more than a year to get to know Janis and what it takes to perform this vocal marathon every night. As for her vocal regimen, Davies is very clear on what her body needs. “I sleep a lot, and I have to exercise. It has to be closer to the show than away from. It’s not like I wake up at eight in the morning and work out and get my day started, and then kinda be quiet the rest of the day. The more active I can become throughout the day, the better off I am when I get to the stage. Then my body’s awake. And you know, when you sing Janis, you’re singing from your toenails, so you want your whole body to be awake.”
To read more of this article, check out the November issue due out November 15th, or subscribe and get all the issues for this season with the Season Pass.