Dates have been announced for five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald’s return to Broadway as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. Written by Lanie Robertson and directed by Lonny Price, the show will play a limited ten-week engagement and begin performances at Circle in the Square on March 25. Opening night set for April 13.
The bio-show recounts Holiday's life story through the songs that made her famous. 1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses. McDonald will perform 18 numbers as Holiday, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness” and “God Bless the Child."
One of Broadway's top stars, McDonald has won Tony Awards in the categories of Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Porgy and Bess), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Ragtime, Carousel) and Best Featured Actress in a Play (A Raisin in the Sun, Master Class). Since Lady Day could be billed as a play with music, this engagement may give her the opportunity to round out her wins with a trophy in the category of Best Leading Actress in a Play. A sixth win would make Audra the most honored actress in Broadway history. Next season she is expected to play opposite Oprah in Night, Mother.
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill debuted off-Broadway in 1986 starring Lonette McKee and has been produced around the country and internationally ever since. Tony and Grammy winner Dee Dee Bridgewater starred in another show, entitled just Lady Day, off-Broadway which closed earlier this year.