Audra McDonald as Lady Day in New Billie Holliday Musical

  • March 13, 2014
Tony winner McDonald

Tony winner McDonald

Audra McDonald, who already has five Tony Awards to her credit, will take to the Broadway stage again. This time she will star in a new musical about American jazz singer and writer Billie Holliday. The musical, which is entitled Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, focuses on one of Holliday’s final concerts. It’s a musical devoted to examining what was an amazingly tragic life led by a brilliantly talented performer.

McDonald a Force on Stage

The 44-year-old McDonald has won Tonys for her work in musicals and straight plays. She won her first Tony 20 years ago for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical in the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, and in 1996 she won a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her work in Terrence McNally’s Master Class.

McDonald in Carousel.

McDonald in Carousel.

Another Tony followed in 1998, as, again she won for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for the revival of Ragtime. In 2004, she appeared in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and received another award. Again she won for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. Then just two years ago, McDonald won her fifth Tony. That was the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her work in interpreting Bess in the musical Porgy and Bess.

She has also been nominated for two additional Tonys and won numerous Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle Awards and won a Grammy. Only two other performers have won five Tonys: Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury.

Lady Day

Holliday performing soulfully.

Holliday performing soulfully.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which is by Lanie Robertson, takes place in a seedy Philadelphia bar in 1959. That is the year that Holliday, who was a longtime drug addict and alcoholic, died. Holliday, who rose to prominence in the late 1930s and became a major star in the 1940s, had a traumatic life, during which she was raped in her preteen years and was prostituting in Harlem at the age of 14. Holliday was married numerous times and often found herself in abusive relationships. But her talent propelled her to a career that included a sold out concert at the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

In Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Holliday sings a range of hits, as she revisits the tragedies, triumphs, and loves in her life. The show is moving, revelatory, and insightful.

Group Tickets

Group discount tickets are available to see Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at Circle in the Square. Contact All Tickets Inc. at 1-800-922-0716 or through our website for tickets. The show previews on March 25, 2013 and opens April 13, 2014 for a limited run. The show is scheduled to close on June 1, 2014.

 

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