In partnership with Mosaic Theater Company's production of Marie and Rosetta
Author Gayle F. Wald presents the untold story of 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, America’s first rock guitar diva, and the subject of Mosaic Theater Company's new production, Marie and Rosetta. The book presentation will include music and video.
Long before “women in rock” became a media catchphrase, Rosetta Tharpe proved in spectacular fashion that women could rock. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, in 1915, she was gospel’s first superstar and the preeminent crossover figure of its “golden age” (1945-1965). Everyone who saw her perform said she could “make that guitar talk.”
Shout, Sister, Shout! is the first biography of this trailblazing performer who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt. An African American guitar virtuoso, Tharpe defied categorization. Blues singer, gospel singer, folk artist, and rock-and-roller, she “went electric” in the late 1930s, amazing northern and southern, U.S. and international, and white and black audiences with her charisma and skill. Ambitious and relentlessly public, Tharpe even staged her own wedding as a gospel concert-in a stadium holding 20,000 people!
Wald’s eye-opening biography, which draws on the memories of over 150 people who knew or worked with Tharpe, introduces us to this intriguing and forgotten musical heavyweight, forever altering our understanding of both women in rock and U.S. popular music.
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Pick
Gayle F. Wald is a professor at George Washington University and the author of Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power TV. She was a consultant for the film Godmother of Rock and Roll. Wald lives in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @gaylewald.
600 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
This event is FREE and open to all. Let us know you're coming on Facebook.
More information about Marie and Rosetta:
Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music that would become a rhythmic precursor to rock and roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer of mid-20th-century music with a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and Ray Charles. Set in the showroom of a funeral home, in Mississippi, 1946, this musical celebration of two extraordinary Black Women chronicles the unlikely first rehearsal between Rosetta and the prim young, Marie Knight, to see if the potential protégée could summon the stuff to allow for a professional partnership that might topple the male stranglehold suppressing Rosetta's career. They would embark on a tour to establish them as one of the great duos in musical history.
"It is so rare for a play about the inner lives of black women to center on their intimacy and not world politics or degradation that the very [existence] of George Brant’s loving two-character script is refreshing." - The New Yorker
Independent, intercultural, entertaining, and uncensored, Mosaic Theater Company is committed to making transformational, socially-relevant art, to producing plays by authors on the front lines of conflict zones, and to building a fusion community to address some of the most pressing issues of our times. Dedicated to making our theater a model of diversity and inclusion at every strata, on stage and off, Mosaic complements its productions with comprehensive engagement through free pre- and post-show programming, an annual intercultural festival, like the “Voices From a Changing Middle East” series, and educational initiatives, including “Mosaic on the Move.” Mosaic strives to foster a culture of listening and welcoming, embracing complexity and a multi-focal perspective.