Background on Lady Day: The Musical


Lady Day is a musical play by Broadway artist Lanie Robertson which goes on at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Billie Holiday, a Broadway legend marks the gist of this musical play since Lady Day describes a few experiences and moments of her life. This musical commenced in mid-1986 in Georgia in the Alliance Theatre of Atlanta. The musical later opened Off-Broadway. The journey from Off-Broadway to Broadway is quite long since it got on Broadway musical in 2014.

The plot of the entire musical play happened in South Philadelphia enlightening the classy Billie Holiday period of 1959 somewhere in March. It starts with Billie performing her musical in a bar which happened to be one of her last citations before she died in July of 1959. Jimmy Powers is on the piano with his noted skills and finger memory. The musical enlightens more about her life furthermore.

This play saw its next production at the Vineyard Theatre in mid-1986 and then, after a successful run, it opened at the Westside Theatre after a few months in 1986. The musical play went on for a whopping 281 performances before it was closed in mid-1987. Andre Ernotte directed the whole play where Mckee played Holiday. Lonette McKee quit the play somewhere in early 1987 and then the character of Holiday was taken up by a famous artist S. Epatha Merkerson who actually played a good role in getting the play an Outer Critics Circle Award of 1987 for being voted the best Off-Broadway role-play. The bright moments of this play got under the spotlight when it opened in the Square on April 13 of 2014. Yes, it was the Broadway at Circle. Lonny Price coordinated and administrated the musical play’s artists and other co-stars. This play had Billie’s role played by Audra McDonald and Powers was played by Shelton Becton. The stage, set, ensembles, lighting and sound were all managed by the industry’s reliable artists and co-workers.

Indeed, even in the clamoring clubs where she generally performed, Holiday frequently demanded aggregate calm before she would open her mouth. The calm generally held, as one of the considerable artists of the most recent century transformed jazz melodies and gauges into looking, and burning, representations of life and adoration turned out badly that cast a gleaming spell.

Mr. Robertson has quite modulated a convincing voice for these reflections, salty and cheeky, at times flaring into hot blasts of resentment, and inclined to gin-powered diversions. Ms. McDonald moves between the inclinations with an unsteady sharpness, passing on the glow and funniness in splendid, sparkling blasts that can rapidly die down into dim, severe ruminations on the wayward, neglectful furrow into which her life slowly fell.

This play was pre-booked with a lot of caution which included a restricted engagement of two and a half months. The play in 2014 was successful and it is expected that another version will be witnessed soon. The website shows how successful their play was and the artists involved. Broadway musical, as we know is an undying art form and it is music plays like this that keep it alive.

About Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill is one of the most popular modern-time plays there is. Created by Lanie Robertson, it recounts events in the life of legendary singer Billie Holiday. The play premiered at the Alliance Theatre in George back in 1986, before playing Off-Broadway. Lady Day opened on Broadway more recently in April 2014, directed by Lonny Price. Actress Audra McDonald starred Billie Holiday, featuring Shelton Becton as pianist Jimmy Powers. Sets were created by James Noone, with Esosa taking care of the costumes.


Actress & Recent Updates

By the time the play was closed in October 2014, Audra McDonald garnered six record-breaking Tony Awards for the show. She also became the first person to prosper in all four categories for the acting awards, not to forget winning for the Best Actress in a Play. The Play scored an award for the Best Sound Design. It was filmed at New Orleans’s Café Brasil and broadcast on HBO starting March 12th, 2016. More recently, McDonald was scheduled to re-appear in West End at Wyndham’s Theatre between June 15th and September 3rd this year. However, appearance was postponed since McDonald and her husband (Will Swenson) are expecting a baby.

The Plot

Lady Day takes place in South Philadelphia starting March 1959. In the scene, Billie Holiday performs in a run-down bar before she met her death in July of the same year. As she sings, she is telling stories about her life and has Jimmy Powers at the piano.