Francesca Harper To Lead LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL At JAG Productions
JAG Productions has announced casting for their upcoming production of Lanie Robertson's Tony award-winning play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill directed by Jarvis Antonio Green (JAG Productions: Choir Boy, Fences, JAGfest), will run from May 24th-May 27th at the Engine Room in White River Junction, May 31st-June 3rd at The Grange Theater in Pomfret and June 7-10 at Main Street Landing's Black Box Theater in Burlington, VT.
The cast is lead by Francesca Harper as Billie Holiday and Nygel D. Robinson as Jimmy Powers. Harper is an internationally acclaimed multi-faceted artist. After being named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performing at the White House, Harper performed soloist roles with the Dance Theater of Harlem and spent several years as a principal in William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt. Her Broadway credits include Fosse, The Producers, All Shook Up, The Frogs and the Tony Award winning treasure The Color Purple. She was also a featured performer in Zinnias - The Life of Clementine Hunter directed by Robert Wilson, with Libretto by Civil Rights Activist Bernice Reagon. Her Principal acting roles include starring opposite Molly Ringwald in Sweet Charity and performing the role of Judith originated on Broadway by Judith Jamison in Sophisticated Ladies. Most recently she was invited to develop a new character for the show / experience Sleep No More as well as perform a secondary role. She is a featured Jazz Vocalist fronting their Jazz Band as well as singing and accompanying herself on piano, as Cecilia Robertson, aka Ceci.
Her TV appearances include two episodes of Boardwalk Empire, David Letterman and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harper also served as ballet consultant for the feature film, "BLACK SWAN," by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, who went on to win an Oscar.
Harper has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Tanz Graz, Hubbard Street II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and her own company, The Francesca Harper Project, which was founded in 2005. The Francesca Harper Project (FHP) has toured Nationally and Internationally. Venues include the Holland Dance Festival, and Venice Biennale, NJPAC, The Joyce Theater, and The Met Museum. FHP was a New York Magazine critic's pick.
She was also the recipient of the Innovation and Technology Award for Louis Vuitton Reconstruction 3.0 for New York Fashion Week 2013 at Lincoln Center, and was honored with a Living History Award during Black History Month.
The setting of the play is 1959 and jazz legend Billie Holiday is playing a seedy bar in Philadelphia. It will be one of her last performances. As she shares stories about her stormy personal life, her battle with addiction and her ground-breaking vocal style, she also, of course, sings. Featuring a sensational score, including "God Bless The Child", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Strange Fruit", this haunting play with captivating insights of the life of one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, is not to be missed.
JAG Productions is by led by Producing Artistic Director, Jarvis Antonio Green. Founded in 2015 in the Upper Valley of Vermont, JAG Productions' mission is to produce classic and contemporary African-American theatre; to serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thereby, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community through shared understandings of the humankind through the lens of the African-American experience. The company is unique in the state of Vermont, in terms of its identity, aspirations, and accomplishments, in testimony to which it was awarded the New England Theatre Conference's Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Theatre for its 2016-17 season.
Tickets for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill can be purchased at www.JAGProductionsVT.com or by calling 802.332.3270.