Schedule Announced for LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL with Audra McDonald; Opening Set for 4/13
As BroadwayWorld reported last week, five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will return to the stage as legendary songstress Billie Holliday in a revival of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. According to the New York Times, the show will open at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 13 for a limited 10-week run. Performances will begin on March 25.
McDonald told NYT: "I might have been a little judgmental about Billie Holiday early on in my life, but what I've come to admire most about her - and what is fascinating in this show - is that there is never any self-pity. She's almost laughing at how horrible her life has been. I don't think she sees herself as a victim. And she feels an incredible connection to her music - she can't sing a song if she doesn't have some emotional connection to it, which I really understand."
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Written by Lanie Robertson, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill had its world premiere at the Westside Theatre in New York City on September 7, 1986 and starred Lonette McKee. The show played last Spring in Chicago at Porchlight Music Theatre, starring Alexis J. Rogers. Dee Dee Bridgewater recenlty concluded an off-Broadway run in a different musical on the same subject, titled simply Lady Day.
McDonald won the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her role of 'Bess' in THE GERSWIN's PORGY AND BESS. She earned three Tony Awards by the age of 28 - for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime. She was nominated for another Tony Award for her performance in Marie Christine before she won her fourth in 2004 for her role in A Raisin in the Sun. She reprised her Raisin role for a 2008 television adaptation, earning her a second Emmy Award nomination.
Her first Emmy nod came in 2001 for her performance in HBOs Wit. Fans of the small screen also regognize McDonald from her work on ABC's Private Practice.
In the show, the time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday's last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.
Photo Credit: Michael Wilson