Making her long overdue West End debut, 6-time Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Audra McDonald stars in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill for a limited run through 9th September 2017.
Taking on the role of iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday, McDonald reprises her Tony Award winning performance that was seen on Broadway in 2014. Featuring some of Holiday’s most famous songs, including ‘God Bless the Child’, ‘Strange Fruit’, ‘Crazy He Calls Me’, ‘What a Little Moonlight Can Do’ and ‘Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness’, spend an evening in the presence of Billie Holiday as she regales the deeply personal stories of her loves and losses through the extraordinarily turbulent life of one of music’s most legendary performers.
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill is not only a perfect star vehicle for McDonald, who brings to life the spirit of Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson's 1986 play but is also a delight for audiences and fans of Holiday's music. More comfortably described as a biopic-performance, the play is set in Philadelphia in March 1959, some four months before Holiday's death. During this iconic concert evening where she is accompanied by Jimmy Powers on the piano, Holiday recounts stories about her life and a gripping musical drama unfolds.
The play originally opened off-Broadway in 1986 in a production that starred Lonette McKee, and went on to be staged all around America with different stars in the terribly demanding role. This new production, which is directed by Lonny Price, opened on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on 13 April 13 2014. McDonald starred as Lady Day alongside Shelton Becton as pianist Jimmy Powers. The production was initially scheduled for a limited 10-week run, but this was extended numerous times, finally closing on 5 October 2014. A London run was initially slated for summer 2016 and was postponed due to McDonald announcing that she was expecting a baby.