Sue Legate-Halford channels Janis Joplin: Musical tribute takes place Saturday in Colfax

“They were amazed. … I was amazed! Sue LeGate-Halford laughed.

About 20 years ago, John Driscoll of the Off Broadstreet theater company asked LeGate-Halford if she could play the role of Janis Joplin.

“I was only 12 when Janis passed away,” LeGate-Halford said. Although she knows Joplin’s music, she said she’s not a particular fan.

Nevertheless, LeGate-Halford passed the audition. Her performance was so convincing that she has taken up her tribute to Janis Joplin once or twice a year almost every year since then, often to sold out houses.


This Saturday at 8 p.m. in downtown Colfax, LeGate-Halford tries “just a little harder” when it brings its live musical tribute to Joplin to the 160-seat Colfax Theater. She will be supported by her husband’s band Dave and the Cool Beans.

There will be no dancing in the street, but there is a dance floor out front for those who want to do a full-tilt boogie to classic 60s and 70s music.

The show will kick off with Dave and the Cool Beans. Dave Halford sings and plays rhythm guitar. Paul Turner plays lead guitar and backing vocals. Steve Sheppard lays down the bassline and John Basa leads the beat on drums.

Keeping it all in the family, Turner’s wife, Claire Diament-Turner, will join the boys in the band on keyboards and vocals.

The Cool Beans specialize in reproducing iconic music from the Joplin era with stunning accuracy. Their repertoire ranges from the Beatles to Jefferson Airplane via the Buckinghams.


After intermission, LeGate-Halford will ‘put my grunt on’ and bring Joplin back to life with classics such as ‘Piece of My Heart’, ‘Move Over’, Bye, Bye Baby’ and Joplin’s lone No. 1 hit. , “Me and Bobby McGee.

But that won’t be all she promised Joplin. She and her husband will do Sonny and Cher. “Dave is a great singer.”

Also on stage: Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), Tina Turner… and Amy Winehouse. “It works,” LeGate-Halford smiles.

When asked if she sang or acted while doing Joplin, she thought about it. “I think I act more than sing – but ask me tomorrow, I might change my mind.”


Joplin was kicked out of her high school choir in Port Arthur, Texas, but found her groove in Austin. She dropped out of the University of Texas and followed her broken heart to San Francisco.

After several years of drugs and poverty, Joplin became an overnight success when she blew away audiences at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Her debut album, Cheap Thrills with Big Brother and the Holding Company, became gold record in just three days.

Joplin never lived to see “Me and Bobby McGee” hit number 1 in 1971. Shortly after recording the Kris Kristofferson song, she died of an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970.

Janis Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. To date, she’s sold 18.5 million albums — and counting.


Director of the theater company LeGacy Presents, LeGate-Halford is a producer, director, screenwriter, actress, singer – and you get the idea.

She even organized the concessions for Saturday’s show.

“The Nevada County Food Bank will sell wine, coffee and soft drinks as well as popcorn, candy and pastries,” said Nicole McNeely, executive director of the food bank. “Of course, all proceeds will go to the food bank.”

“We’re really excited to do this,” McNeely said. “Going out into the community is essential for us,” she said, both to raise funds and awareness of the food bank, but also to meet the growing and critical needs of low-income people, homeless and other people in difficulty. .

LeGate said she’s more than happy not to have to deal with a liquor license — and she knows starving artists aren’t just an expression.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada County. Contact him at [email protected] or

Sue LeGate-Halford and Dave Halford sing a Sonny and Cher duet in a previous Janis Joplin tribute show.
Photo by Philippe Jacques
Paul Turner plays lead guitar with Dave and the Cool Beans.
Photo by Philippe Jacques
From Screamer to Crooner, Sue LeGate-Halford explores the range of Janis Joplin’s hit songs.
Photo by Philippe Jacques