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BILLIE! BACKSTAGE WITH LADY DAY Opens January 13 At Sierra Madre Playhouse

The award-winning show with music is written and performed by Synthia L. Hardy.

BILLIE! BACKSTAGE WITH LADY DAY Opens January 13 At Sierra Madre Playhouse

Billie! Backstage With Lady Day, the award-winning show with music and written and performed by Synthia L. Hardy. Directed by Bryan Rasmussen, presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse, running January 13- January 22, 2023.

Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was a trail-blazing musical artist, known as perhaps the first female vocalist to use her voice in the style of jazz improvisation. Recording first with Benny Goodman, she became the first Black female vocalist to front a white band, that of Artie Shaw. She also performed with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She had long professional associations with saxophonist Lester Young (who named her Lady Day; she called him Prez) and pianist Teddy Wilson.

Born to poverty in Philadelphia, she was a victim of sexual assault while still a child and sentenced by the court to a Catholic correctional institution. It was only her first experience with the court, however. She was convicted at age 13 (along with her mother) of prostitution. Subsequent arrests involved possession of narcotics and substance abuse.

Despite a turbulent life, abusive relationships, and racism, she prevailed to become one of the greatest jazz and blues artists of her time, before her untimely demise at age 44 from cirrhosis of the liver. In addition to multiple hit recordings, she sold out Carnegie Hall three times.

Actor-singer-playwright Synthia L. Hardy brings the story of Billie Holiday to vibrant life. In Billie! Backstage with Lady Day, Billie is being interviewed by unseen reporters as she unfolds the story of her turbulent life. Billie, accompanied by a live four-piece combo, sings her greatest hits, including God Bless the Child, Strange Fruit, Good Morning Heartache, Lover Man, many more.

Synthia L. Hardy has appeared in film, on T.V., commercials (radio and T.V.) and on stages nationally and internationally. She was recently featured in the film, Sylvie's Love .She won the NAACP Theatre Award for Billie! Backstage with Lady Day for Best One Person Show. She, also, won two Artistic Director Achievement Awards (A.D.A.) for the same show (Billie!...) for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Best One Person Show. Synthia won an Emmy Award for the documentary, Precious Memories: A Stroll Down 47th Street and has received other awards and nominations for her work, including another NAACP Theatre Award, Dramalogue Critics Award (twice), LA Weekly Award (just to name a few). Some of Synthia's work includes: Home; Merry Wives of Windsor; Flyin' West; Rap Master Ronnie; The Little Dreamer: A Night in the Life of Bessie Smith; and A Corner of Gold. She has written and starred in her own cabaret show, Dinner Musicale with Synthia & Friends.. Synthia has toured with various singing groups doing tributes to Oldies and Doo Wop girl groups. Synthia is originally from Chicago.

Bryan Rasmussen directs. An award‐winning actor as well as a director, producer, teacher, coach, and Artistic Director of the Whiteβire Theatre, he's proud to be celebrating its' 33rd anniversary season this year! Beside directing most all of the last year's "Shorts" shows including Hollywood, Summer, Fall, and Spring Shorts, in the 10 years he has owned the Whiteβire, Bryan has produced well over 500 shows, as well as over 50 world premiere productions including The Bellβlower Session, Love Like Blue, Mark Twain in the 20th Century, Seasons of Change and many others. He recently directed and acted in the world premiere of the critically acclaimed production of FIREHOUSE.. He directed and starred in the 50th Anniversary production of Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter as well as produced and directed Old School as part of his Young Actors School. Also, he directed the 35th anniversary production of Sam Shepard's Buried Child.

Ms. Hardy will be accompanied by a live, onstage four-piece combo.

Billie! Backstage with Lady Day is the story of a legendary musical talent, performed by an extraordinary musical star with her ace musical combo. If you appreciate jazz and blues at all, you owe it to yourself to see this show.

Billie! Backstage with Lady Day kicks off the Sierra Madre Playhouse Solo Shows Festival for 2023. For full information about upcoming events, go to®id=9&

Covid-19 safety protocols are being observed. As of this writing, this means that audience members will be required to wear masks inside the Playhouse auditorium.

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