Laura Joplin Happy to See Sister Back on Stage in 'Love, Janis'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Helbig

Laura Joplin didn't intend to write a book about her famous older sister, Janis. She just wanted to know more about her sister.

"I just wanted to find out what happened to her," Joplin explains, a note of apology in her voice. "It was as much a personal quest as anything - to find out what happened to her from the time she left our home."

Joplin, who administers the late rock 'n' roll star's estate, had an advantage or two other Joplin biographers never had: she had access to her sister's letters and had an in on tracing her family tree.

"I spent a whole year researching our family genealogy. Janis was an alcoholic and that is something that runs in families. I was curious to see where - and if - it happened in our family."

Once Joplin's research was completed, she began writing a few hours each day.

"It really didn't become a book," Joplin explains, "until it became a manuscript."

The result was "Love, Janis," a fascinating, heartfelt portrait of Janis and her times.

While Joplin was working on her book, she and others began talking about doing a Broadway Show about Janis. The only catch was finding a playwright Joplin felt would capture Janis on stage.

"I ran across a play called 'Lost Highway' about the music and the life of Hank Williams. …