The story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe is coming to the stage on Broadway. The guitar virtuoso played with jazz greats, including Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Lucky Millinder and Duke Ellington.
Shout, Sister, Shout! is the story of the trailblazing performer Sister Rosetta Tharpe who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Eric Clapton and Etta James. Rosetta Tharpe was gospel music’s first superstar. A guitar virtuoso with a clear, ringing voice, she took the rich musical traditions of Black Pentecostal churches and made music for the world to enjoy. Audiences adored her and said she played guitar “like a man” — even though men learned a thing or two from her.
Before we had the phrase “women in rock,” Rosetta rocked churches, tent-meetings, revivals, dance clubs, stadiums, and concert halls — from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry. Her remarkable journey–from Cotton Plant, Arkansas to an acknowledged influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and a generation of British rockers–shows how a black female gospel musician was an essential player in the development of rock-and-roll. She is a pioneer and considered by many to be “The Mother of Rock and Roll.”