On Friday, May 29 at 9:30 p.m., local singer, songwriter and actress Merideth Kaye Clark will perform Joni Mitchell’s iconic album, Blue, in its entirety in the intimate Ellyn Bye Studio. “This album has influenced me a lot as a singer and a songwriter,” said Merideth Kaye Clark about the idea to perform Blue. “I’m excited about performing the entire album, and I hope people will connect to hearing the entire body of work.” Clark will be accompanied by pianist Mont Chris Hubbard, who will also act as musical director. Portland Center Stage’s Producing Associate Brandon Woolley will direct. The performance will follow the regularly scheduled 7:30 p.m. production of The Lion.
Released in 1971, Joni Mitchell’s album Blue is perhaps her most iconic work. Rolling Stone wrote that “with Blue she has matched her popular music skills with the purity and honesty of what was once called folk music, and through the blend she has given us some of the most beautiful moments in recent popular music.” It marked a pivotal time in her career, inspiring David Crosby to say, “by the time she did Blue, she was past me and rushing toward the horizon.”
For many, Joni Mitchell’s album was an inspiration and emotional outlet. Jack Hamilton, writer at The Atlantic, recalls one song in particular that stands out to him. Referring to “Case of You” he says, “there’s a moment at the top of its second verse, the one that begins ‘I’m a lonely painter / I live in a box of paints,’ when the entire track seems to suddenly swell and almost burst, a beautiful shock of intensity that recedes almost as soon as it appears. And in that one heart-racing, vanishing instant everything makes sense, because if we can only find our way back to that, that moment, that feeling—to find that would mean to be happy forever.” Similarly, Merideth Kaye Clark felt a personal connection to the album, saying, “I’ve always had a strong relationship to this music. Every time I return to it I hear something new, and find something new in her poetry.”
photo: Lavenda Memory
Performer: Merideth Kaye Clark
Merideth Kaye Clark is an artist, traveler, musician, songwriter, singer, and actress. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Merideth studied Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University before earning a Master’s in Musical Theatre at San Diego State University. It was there, in California, where she began her career as a concert artist and musical theater performer. Merideth has since performed major roles in theaters around the country. Highlights include: Nancy, Oliver!
(Seattle’s 5th Ave); Cathy, The Last Five Years (PCS); Clara, The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse); Tzeitl, Fiddler on the Roof (PCS); Kate/Lilli, Kiss Me Kate (Clackamas Rep); Eva Peron, Evita (Northern Stage); Olivia, Twelfth Night (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe); Amazing Grace (Goodspeed); Rose, Meet Me In St. Louis (Irish Rep). She has participated in numerous developmental readings and has originated roles in two off-Broadway musicals. Merideth performed the role of Elphaba in the First National Tour of the Broadway musical Wicked over 150 times in 35 major US cities.
Merideth combines her theater work with concerts across the US. She performs in many styles, including contemporary musical theatre, classical, Broadway standards, country, bluegrass, and folk. Merideth is a multi-instrumentalist and plays anything with strings, most notably the guitar and viola. Her sophomore album Young Stellar Object garnered critical praise from New York theater reviewers. Merideth now lives in Portland, Oregon with her incredible husband, beautiful daughter and floppy dog.
Music direction and accompaniment: Mont Chris Hubbard
Mont Chris Hubbard is a Portland performer, composer, and music director. He received a 2013 Portland Area Musical Theatre Award for his music direction of the Broadway Rose’s Little Shop of Horrors. He has released three CDs of solo piano improvisations, and his band Scotland Barr & The Slow Drags won the 2011 Portland Music Award for Album of the Year for their final offering, We Will Be Forgotten. He is the creator and host of Portland’s most endearingly-strange variety show, The Mont Chris Hubbard Bonus Show, and hosts a weekly late night piano bar at Mazza’s Club. Find out more at www.montchrishubbard.com.
Director: Brandon Woolley
Brandon is a director, producer and actor in Portland, Oregon. He has directed/produced shows at CoHo Theater (International Falls), Bag&Baggage (Dial M For Murder), Third Rail Repertory (Apple Family Plays Weekend: Sorry and Regular Singing), Theatre Vertigo (The End of Sex), Live On Stage (4×4=8 Musicals), and Portland Center Stage (JAW Kick Off Events 2012-2014). Brandon has worked with Rose Riordan on multiple shows at PCS as an assistant director (Lizzie, The Whipping Man, Red, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and A Christmas Story, 2010 and 2011). He has also served as assistant director for Sweet and Sad (Third Rail Repertory), Hairspray (Broadway Rose), and Spring Awakening (Live on Stage) in which he portrayed the role of Hanschen. Brandon is the Producing Associate at Portland Center Stage.
Please Note: This event is recommended for ages 12+.