About the showMulti award-winning Broadway legend, Audra McDonald, makes her long-awaited West End debut as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. This intimate evening features riveting monologues and some of the most beautiful and yearning songs ever written.
This critically acclaimed play takes place over the course of a single Billie Holiday performance at Emerson’s. Spot-lit and accompanied by a jazz band, McDonald channels the late Jazz icon and bears her soul with classic songs including ‘What a Little Moonlight Can Do’, ‘God Bless the Child’, ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Don’t Explain’. Between the music, Holiday shares anecdotes from her short and difficult life that was blighted by racism, difficult relationships and alcohol and heroin addiction. This woman of extremes is sympathetically celebrated in this touching and entertaining tribute.
McDonald is a six-time Tony Award Winner (performances including Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun and Porgy and Bess. Her role in Lady Day earned her a record-breaking 6th Tony, with critics raving that she had ‘forged a connection with the great, doomed artist […] that feels truthful and moves well beyond impersonation to intimate identification’ (NY Times). She is the only performer in the history of the awards to have picked up Tony’s in all four of the award’s acting categories – and is as adored by fans as she is by critics, with 2 sold-out concert performances at the Leicester Square Theatre. McDonald has also had success on screen, most recently in the medical drama Private Practice.
Writer Lanie Robertson brought Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill to Off-Broadway audiences in 1986, and subsequently won the Outer Critics Award. When it was revived with McDonald in 2014, audiences were captivated by the performance and the play extended its Broadway run 4 times before it finally closed. In London, Lady Day will be directed by Lonny Price, who has previously worked with an impressive selection stars including Emma Thompson (Sweeney Todd), Neil Patrick Harries, Stephen Colbert, Patti LuPone (all in Company), and Kristin Chenoweth (Candide).
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill plays at Wyndham’s Theatre from 17 June 2017.
Who Should See It?Fans of Billie Holiday will not want to miss this insightful and intimate look into the final months of her life. With Audra McDonald at the helm, this is the perfect opportunity to see one of the most successful stage performers of her generation in her element.