LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL Comes to The Armory This May
Deidrie Henry returns to The Armory to star as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Lanie Robertson's riveting portrait of Holiday's life told through an imagined final performance in a small bar in South Philadelphia in 1959. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill begins preview performances on May 26, opens on June 1, and runs through July 1 on the U.S. Bank Main Stage. Bill Fennelly returns to The Armory to direct after previously directing Gypsy, Black Pearl Sings and, most recently, Little Shop of Horrors. Deidrie Henry, who most recently played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire at The Armory, will be joined on stage by Abdul Hamid Royal, the production's music director who also plays the role of Jimmy Powers, along with local musicians Charles Neal (drums) and Andre St. James (bass).
Regular tickets start at $25 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at www.pcs.org, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger can purchase $35 premium tickets. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. Discounts for groups of 10+. Active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families get 50% off the price of regular tickets. Performance times are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; Thursday matinees at noon; date exclusions apply, see below for more information. Recommended for ages 16 and up. Contains adult situations and explicit language. The actor in this production will be using tobacco-free herbal cigarettes. Children under 6 are not permitted at any production at The Armory. For more information visit www.pcs.org/ladyday.
Featuring iconic songs like "God Bless the Child," "Ain't Nobody's Business," "When a Woman Loves a Man," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Strange Fruit," Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill is an all-access pass to Billie Holiday's final concert. With humor and hopefulness, the legendary singer takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of her tumultuous life, interspersed with exuberant renditions of her beloved repertoire. Deidrie Henry performed the role of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2017 to great acclaim. Broadway World raved: "Deidrie Henry as Billie Holiday is, in a word, sublime. She takes this incredibly juicy character and effectively makes the audience feel joy, grief, and everything in between." The Armory reunites the creative team from The Actors Theatre run to design an all-new production for Portland audiences.
Lanie Robertson has written about iconic artists and the societal issues they faced in a number of plays, including Nasty Little Secrets, Alfred Stiegletz Loves O'Keeffe and Woman Before a Glass. His plays have been produced internationally and at Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Delaware Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Festival d'Avignon, George Street Playhouse, Kennedy Center, Old Globe, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Theatre de la Huchette, Theatre Petite Montparnasse, Theatre Silvia Montforte, Vineyard Theatre, Virginia Stage, Walnut Street Theatre, Westside Arts and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Recent works include the plays Nobody Lonesome for Me and The Gardener, and his first novel, Monkey to the Solution. Robertson is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, East and the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.
Deidrie Henry returns to The Armory to take on the role of iconic artist Billie Holiday after previously appearing in A Streetcar Named Desire (2016) and Closer (2001). Henry has also performed with companies such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theater, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Arena Stage, and many others. The role of Jimmy Powers will be performed by Abdul Hamid Royal, who is also the music director for the production. His music direction has been acknowledged by an Ovation Award, two NAACP Image Awards and the SAGE Award, for various musicals both on Broadway and off. The band is rounded out by drummer Charles Neal and bassist Andre St. James, who are both heavily involved with the Pacific Northwest jazz scene.
Members of the creative team from The Actors Theatre of Louisville production reunite in Portland, led by director Bill Fennelly (most recently at The Armory for Little Shop of Horrors) whose work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally; with scenic designs by Michael Schweikardt (The Armory's Little Shop of Horror; Ford's Theatre, The Old Globe); costume designs by Raquel Barreto (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center for the Performing Arts); original lighting designs by Paul Toben (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Magic Theatre); associate lighting designs by Isabella Byrd (New York Theatre Workshop, Signature Theatre); sound designs by David Budries (ALLIANCE THEATRE, Arena Stage); with Stage Manager Janine Vanderhoff.