Photo Flash: Dee Dee Bridgewater Channels Billie Holiday in LADY DAY; Performances Begin. 9/19 at Little Shubert Theatre

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The curtain will rise for preview performances for the new Billie Holiday musical Lady Day starring Tony and multiple Grammy Award-winner Dee Dee Bridgewater on Thursday, September 19th (7PM) at the Little Shubert Theatre (422 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Written and directed by Stephen Stahl, the musical will make its New York debut having been produced at the Theatre de Boulogne-Billancourt and Theatre du Gymnase Marie Bell in Paris as well as The Donmar Warehouse and The Piccadilly Theatre in London, where it received critical praise and garnered an Olivier "Best Actress in a Musical" Award nomination for Ms. Bridgewater. Produced by Misty Road Productions (Thomas Gentile) the show is slated to open on Thursday, October 3rd (6:30PM). Check out a first look at Bridgewater as Holiday below!

Along with Ms. Bridgewater, David Ayers (Wicked and SILENCE!) in the role of "Robert," Billie Holiday's Manager and newcomer Rafael Pouerietin the role of the "Assistant Stage manager" as well as James Cammack(veteran bass player for legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal), Jerome Jennings (performer & drummer for Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins),Neil Johnson (acclaimed tenor sax player for his international style) andBill Jolly (three-time Emmy Award winning pianist/composer/arranger) in the roles of the onstage musicians, complete the acting ensemble.

The original play with music on the life of Billie Holiday, "Lady Day" features a cavalcade of Holiday hit songs and tells the inspired and heart-wrenching story of how Billie attempts a final comeback performance. With a new book by Mr. Stahl, "Lady Day" brings the essence and spirit of the late, great Billie Holiday to the stage. Told through onstage triumphs and backstage personal trials, the production features over twenty-five standards including: "Don't Explain," "Good Morning Heartache," "A Foggy Day (In London Town)," "Them There Eyes," "Strange Fruit," "My Man," "God Bless the Child," and "Mean to Me."

Multi-award-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt, along with noted costumes designer Patricia A. Hibbert, and acclaimed lighting designed by Ryan O'Gara will head the design team along with Jason Crystaldesigning sound and DIVE designing video projections.

Dee Dee Bridgewater has received nine Grammy Award nominations and three wins: Best Jazz Vocal Album for "Dear Ella," Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal for "Cotton Tail" (from "Dear Ella"), and the 2011 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for "Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee." Broadway audiences will remember her role as Glinda, the Good Witch, in "The Wiz"---a performance that won her the Tony Award's Best Featured Actress in a Musical and showcased her incredible voice, beauty and stage presence. In addition to her concert performances around the world, Ms. Bridgewater serves as UN Goodwill Ambassador for the FAO and is host of NPR's nationally syndicated radio program "JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater." No stranger to the stage, she has starred in productions of Sophisticated Ladies, Cosmopolitan Greetings, Black Ballad, Carmen Jazz and Cabaret (the first black actress to star as Sally Bowles).

With over 150 production and directorial credits, Stephen Stahl's work in theater, film and television have paired him with award-winning talent including Bill Cosby, Patti LaBelle, Clint Holmes, Billy Joel, Mink Stole and Jason Bateman amongst others. Stephen's 2006 independent feature film "Consequences" won "Best Feature Film" (Thriller) in the Los Angeles International Independent Film and Video Festival and garnered the award for "Best Director of a Feature Film."

Performances will be Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday at 8PM, Thursday at 7PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 2 & 8PM, and Sunday at 3 & 7PM. Tickets, from $85 and $95 (plus $2 facility fee) will be available online at Telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200. Little Shubert Theater Box Office opens daily at 12 noon. Piano by Steinway & Son. Visit "Lady Day" on the web www.ladydaythemusical.com, on Facebook.com/LadyDayTheMusical; or follow on Twitter.com/ladydaymusical.

Photos by Carol Rosegg

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