The Lady Day Story

Posted by Suzanne Baker on

What is Ladies Day the Musical?

Ladies Day is a play that takes place on a stage set in South Philadelphia in the March of 1959. Billie Holiday performing in a run-down bar, which would be one of her last performances before her untimely death later that summer in July 1959. She sings next to Jimmy Powers who played on the piano and tells the stories of her life as she increasingly becomes intoxicated and incoherent.

Who is Billie Holiday?

One of America’s most influential jazz vocalists from the 1930 to the 1950’s. Billie Holiday was a swing music singer whose vocal styles were strongly inspired by jazz instrumentals, pioneering a new way of manipulating phrases and tempos. She was born Eleanora Fagan in 1915 and dropped out of school in fifth grade. Holiday grew up having a rough life, but found her way out when she began to perform. Her singing style was deeply moving and individual to only her during that era. Unfortunately she passed away at the age of 44 at 3:10 a.m. on July 17th, 1059 of a pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver due to heavy drinking. Holidays most popular song was, Carelessly released in 1937, which was a #1 on the hit music charts. 

Billie Holiday had more than her share of tragedies before her passing. Her mother was a teen mother and her father was a musician named Clarence Holiday. As a child she lived in poverty and was even abducted and assaulted by an old neighbor. She went to a reformatory school before dropping out altogether. Then at the age of 13 things somehow got worse when she and her mother moved to New York City. She became the victim of sex trafficing and was subsequently arrest because of it. All before the age of fifteen. 

Finally at the age of 18 she was discovered by Benny Goodman’s record producer. She was in movies and had regular singing gigs. She was still treated poorly though, because of her color. She was all this time addicted to drugs and heroin. Her love life wasn’t much better ending in drugs and abuse mostly. 

Billie Holiday died sick and poor handcuffed to a hospital bed. Since Holiday’s death she has been enrolled into The Hall of Fame and won numerous Grammy’s. Her story is known to many with musicals and movies punctuated by her tragedies, but her life story speaks to much more such as triumph of perseverance, strength of conviction, and the courage to have her voice heard in a time of immense racial injustice and descrimination.

The musical Lady Day is back at certain theaters after being postponed due to the pandemic and you can get tickets today and hear some of Billie Holiday’s greatest songs while the story of her life unfolds on stage in front of you. She has been played by other famous actresses such as Andra Day in the new 2022 movie and Audra McDonald in the musical Lady Day.


The 6 Greatest Playwrights of all Time

Posted by Suzanne Baker on
The 6 Greatest Playwrights of all Time

There’s no underestimating the benefit of a trip to the live theater. It has its own way of increasing your literary knowledge, empathy and psychological insight. Modern studies suggest that going to live theater is in fact much better than watching movies. Playwrights are the brains behind those brilliant theater acts. In all time, and in all places in the world, here are the 6 greatest playwrights who ever lived:

1.      William Shakespeare

If you don’t know who William Shakespeare was, then you must have been living under a rock. Shakespeare comes across the board as the linguistic equal of Sophocles. He has been unsurpassed in his trade. Shakespeare’s genius, metaphors and other contributions to the literary scene have always been used to measure poetic genius. His plays, dialog and well-developed characters are appealing in all ways, not to forget the intriguing theme that he so cleverly used to portray characters who stick to the mind. There’s no disputing the fact that Shakespeare is one of the greatest literary minds that ever lived.

2.      Henrik Ibsen

The 19th Century Norwegian playwright, poet and theater director, Henrik Johan Ibsen, is often referred to as ‘the father of realism’. He’s is popularly placed among the founders of theater modernism. Some of his major works include A Doll’s House, An Enemy of the People, Brand, The Wild Duck, and The Master Builder among many others. After Shakespeare, Henrik is the world’s most performed dramatist. His play, A Doll’s House, was the most popular play by number of performances as early as the 20th century. In European History, Ibsen is seen as one of the most prominent playwrights.

3.      Samuel Beckett

Irishman Samuel Barclay Beckett was a celebrated playwright, novelist, poet and theatre director who resided in Paris, and died in 1989. He’s written extensively in both French and English, and is regarded amongst the most authoritative writers from the 20th century. Beckett’s life’s work scopes black comedy, gallows humor, and a look at human existence. He is ranked amongst the most modernist writers ever, is the Nobel Prize winner in Literature, 1969.

4.      Arthur Miller

A distinguished American playwright and essayist, Arthur Asher Miller’s most popular plays include Death of a Salesman, All My Sons, A View from the Bridge and The Crucible. Death of a Salesman has been listed amongst the greatest American plays of the 20th century. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and married the historic American model and popular culture icon, Marilyn Monroe.

5.      Kalidasa

Although much of his life is unknown, Kalidasa easily gets away with the title ‘greatest dramatist and poet in the Sanskrit language’. His drama and poetry are majorly based on Hindu Puranas. He most likely lived and wrote during the 5th Century AD.

6.      Jean Racine

One of the three greatest playwrights of the 17th century, Jean Racine was a Frenchman and legendary figure of western tradition. His work includes ‘Phedre’, ‘Les Plaideurs’, and ‘Andromaque’. Racine’s plays are exhibit a mind of purity, speed, elegance and fury. Many distinguished poets have unsuccessfully tried to translate his work to other languages, although most of Racine’s poetry is considered untranslatable.


Music & Memory

Posted by Suzanne Baker on
Music & Memory

There are millions of elderly residents within long-term care facilities around America. Many of these residents face both cognitive and physical impairments therefore, relocating into a long term care facility, can be extremely stressful for them. These stresses almost always stem from two main causes such as: the financial stress and stress associated with major change.

While policies such as a hybrid long term care insurance policies may help alleviate some of the financial stress, for many the lingering stress of change will remain. Many residents relocate and instantly long for familiar faces, settings, and even sounds.Yes sounds. In fact, sounds and music can make all the difference within long -term care facilities. These sounds and music can help shape the overall resident experience and even aide in fundamental therapies. That’s right, music therapy has long been a form of therapy used in patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s who struggle with memory.

The familiar sound of an old but favorite tune can sometimes help spark old emotions and memories. Music can help us remember feelings, places, and even people. Perhaps, a song from your favorite album or even a musical you once attended can send you into a trip down memory lane. This is why music therapy and musical play within your nursing home can be beneficial.

Finding a facility that is right for you requires a little bit of research. You should look into your facilities programs and activities. Your facility should have a list of services offered. If you are one of the many americans with a hybrid LTC policy in place this can make this can help give you more options when selecting a facility. Since hybrid long term care insurance combines long term care benefits with life insurance benefits, these policies can help you support the financial side of all your top choice facilities. Don’t get caught settling on the second half of your life. Research your facility carefully to ensure they offer all the musical programs and therapies you desire.

Audra McDonald

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Super Star Audra McDonald

Posted by Suzanne Baker on
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Super Star Audra McDonald

If you’re a theatre fanatic, then you definitely know who Audra McDonald is.

The Essence Magazine April Cover Star, Audra has won multiple awards and accolades for her excellent portrayal of music legend Billie Holiday. Since Broadway revived Shuffle Along, McDonald has been spending most of her time there. Of late, we’ve also heard that she’s expecting a baby, which led to this summer’s postponing of London’s Lady Day performance at West End. But in addition to all these details that are scattered all over news platform and the entertainment web, we look deep into her life and resurface the interesting things that you might not have known about this superstar.

  • Her childhood drama – McDonald’s career started revealing itself when she was a small kid, she mostly feared rain and she would cry at any sight of it .Her parents realized that she was very dramatic and they channeled that energy into arts and it definitely worked out.
  • Attendance at Julliard where she didn’t fit in – Her passion for the stage made her apply at Julliard where she came to realize that it was not her place since they emphasized on opera music programs while her passion was on Broadway. At Julliard, she met Viola Davis who was studying acting at that time and they became good friends. She felt that the opera program she was undertaking was a waste of time for she was no good at it.
  • Her attempt to commit suicide – The experience at Julliard and the feeling that that’s not what she really wanted to do frustrated her and after two years at the Julliard art school she felt that she couldn’t bear it any longer and she attempted suicide. The Black student affairs director was the one who came to her aid by recommending a psychiatrist for her. She took a year off from school and joined a touring company, she later went back to Julliard to get her degree.
  • Her victory at Tony Awards – Despite the feeling that Julliard was not her place it still played a major role in her career for she won her first Tony award one year after college for her role in Carousel.
  • Her latest history-making Broadway project – Shuffle Along which starred Josephine Baker and Paul Robinson, is based on 1921 musical and it made history as one of the first African-American musicals to be ever performed on stage. This musical is yet to make history again as the first Broadway musical written and performed by African-American. It’s going to be a great hit this time.
  • Her six Tony awards do not define her – Audra is an actress who many people emulate, she has a strong will and does what no actress has done before and she continues to work harder and she says that the Tony awards do not slow her performance rather she gets motivated to do more.
  • Her desire to make her 15-year-old daughter proud – Audra lives for her daughter and she is proud of her for she is aware of the problems related with racialism and she is active in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Just like many parents are proud of their children, she also feels the same and all she wants is to leave behind a legacy for her daughter and to make her proud.

Certainly, Audra has got something great going, but it all didn’t come easy. She’s had to work hard and channel a lot of energy into her talent, and that’s precisely why she’s the successful actress we know today!

Lady Day

This Summer’s Season of Lady Day at EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL Postponed

Posted by Suzanne Baker on
This Summer’s Season of Lady Day at EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL Postponed

Lady Day at Emmerson’s Bar & Grill is an award-winning hit that most play enthusiasts love to watch. But things aren’t looking so good this summer. Reportedly, the play’s star, Audra McDonald is expectant, and will be off the stage for quite a while.

Lady Day, a Broadway hit, had been scheduled to show at Wyndham’s theater starting 25th June. Since this is not happening, though, produces will announce dates for a later run anytime soon.

McDonald has bagged multiple Ton Awards, with her latest (sixth) recognizing her for an excellent performance portraying music legend Billie Holiday in New York. McDonald is very happy about the little miracle that has come into her life. She was quoted saying, “Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy? Will and I are completely surprised—and elated—to be expecting a new addition to our family. I am so very grateful…

Of course, I’m disappointed I have to postpone my West End debut in Lady Day, but I look forward to rescheduling as soon as possible.”

McDonald is currently featuring on Broadway production Shuffle Along. She was set to make the West End debut in London for the highly acclaimed drama that highlights the life, love and loss of Holliday’s staggering story for audiences across the world.

The reception for the London show has already been very warm, with plummeting ticket purchases. However, individuals who had already bought tickets have been advised to get in touch with their Box Office towards arranging a refund. Apparently, the high-placed opportune to witness Audra McDonald perform many of the singer’s most iconic hits will have to wait a little bit longer for theater aficionados.

Lady Day

About Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Posted by Suzanne Baker on
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.