BWW Review: LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL Mesmerizes at Human Race Theatre Company
If you are a lover of theatre and great music, then LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL at the Human Race Theatre Company is the show for you.
LADY DAY, written by Lanie Robertson, is an intimate look into the life and music of jazz legend Billie Holiday. The show is a perfect opening to The Human Race's Women of Influence season as Billie Holiday has left an impression on countless singers that came after her as well as fans of her music. Director Scott Stoney and Scenic Designer used the Loft Theatre space brilliantly to draw all of the audience members into the world of the play and make everyone feel like they were there in this nightclub with Billie herself. Fantastic musicians, Keigo Hirakawa on piano, Deron B. Bell, Sr on percussion and Eddie Brookshire on bass, rounded out this lovely ambience and listening to each individual performer was a joy.
The star of the evening was, of course, Tanesha Gray as Billie Holiday. Not only was her singing voice sublime, she masterfully portrayed the highs and lows of Billie's life through her performances. Through the course of the show, she showed us a Billie that was bigger than life and a Billie as fragile as a kitten. My favorite songs of the evening were the Billie standard, "God Bless the Child" and "Foolin' Myself", although there wasn't a weak song all night. I left the performance eager to come home and read more about Billie Holiday and to add her music to a regular playlist. Hopefully, this play will introduce Billie's music to a whole new generation so her legend can live on.
Four performances remain at the Loft Theatre: Tonight, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. You can get tickets through www.ticketcenterstage.com, calling 937-228-3630 or visiting the box office on Friday from 10-6. Season packages are also still available.
Photo courtesy of Heather N. Powell