The Human Race Kicks Off Its 33rd Season With LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL

In 1959, Billie Holiday, or "Lady Day" as she was called, performed one of her final shows in a run-down bar in South Philly. In Robertson's award-winning play, Holiday engages the audience with salty, often humorous reminiscences of her troubled life as a travelling performer in a segregated south. With the help of her piano man, Jimmy Powers, she lets music tell her story, sharing soulful, heart-wrenching and bawdy songs from her memorable canon including: "Strange Fruit," "God Bless the Child," "When a Woman Loves a Man," and "Taint Nobody's Business If I Do."

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is directed by HRTC Founding Resident Artist Scott Stoney, who says about the show, "What I think is most interesting about this show is Billie herself. We don't usually think of her as an activist, but she was an activist by virtue of her own personal experiences, how she was faced by racial injustices every step of her career, even as she was revered by the arts community. ... I was particularly excited to direct this show because I knew I had the perfect Billie. [In 2011] I directed Caroline, or Change [at HRTC] and met Tanesha Gary, and when this show was mentioned to me, I knew she had to play Billie."

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill stars Tanesha Gary as Billie Holiday and features a local jazz trio (Keigo Hirakawa, Deron B. Bell Sr, and Eddie Brookshire) as her backing band.

The preview performance of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is September 12; opening night is September 13. Both performances begin at 8 PM.

This production is sponsored by Beth and Alan Schaeffer, David and Dulie Greer, Marsha and Alan Pippenger, and the Billie Holiday Fan Club.

All season long, The Human Race Theatre Company is partnering with The Neon for the "Women of Influence in the Movies" series. Join us at The Neon on Monday September 23 at 7:30 pm for a double bill of New Orleans, in which a gambling hall owner entertains his patrons with hot jazz by Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, and the newly restored short film Symphony in Black, in which Billie Holiday makes her screen debut as Duke Ellington plays his symphonic jazz piece. Tickets are $8 each or $30 for a series pass, available at

Tickets for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill start at $16. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and seating location. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Student tickets are available at 50% off regular adult prices and a student I.D. must be presented when picking up at the Box Office. The September 15th 7:00 p.m. performance is "Sawbuck Sunday," when any available seat can be purchased in person for just $10 at the Loft Theatre box office two hours prior to the show. Discounts are subject to availability and some restrictions apply.

All performances are at the Metropolitan Art Center's Loft Theatre, located at 126 North Main Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Show times for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill are 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Performances on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings begin at 7:00 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday matinees.

Tickets and performance information for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill are available at or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630, and at the Schuster Center box office.

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