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Godmother of rock ‘n’ roll portrayed on stage at Seattle Rep

Before Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, a young woman with southern roots blazed a trail for music.

SEATTLE — Shout Sister Shout!, a production running at the Seattle Rep theater, is based on the true story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. 

In the late 1930s and '40s she became gospel's first superstar. Decades later, in 2018, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

"She was one of the first to marry gospel and rock 'n' roll. She was a black woman walking around doing riffs, runs, everything," said Carrie Compere, who portrays Sister Rosetta Tharpe on stage. 

Cheryl L. West wrote the musical, which was inspired by Gayle F. Wald's book "Shout, Sister, Shout!"

"The way she would bend the notes, it came from real muscle power," said West. "People would say she played like a man. She could make a guitar talk."

The show runs until December 22.

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