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Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Lanie Robertson
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
# of Pages: 36
Pub. Date: 1989
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0573681848
ISBN-13: 9780573681844
Cast Size: 1 female, 1 male

About the Play:

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is full-length drama with music by Lanie Robertson. In a small, intimate Philadelphia nightclub, the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday presents an intimate evening filled with her tales of triumphs and troubles and performing some of her greatest songs. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is riveting portrait of the lady and her music.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is a bio-drama with music about the great American jazz singer Billie Holiday, nicknamed 'Lady Day' and famous for her unique vocal style, as she copes with her addictions (but still knows how to light up a song). The time is 1959. The place is Emerson's Bar and Grill, a haunt of jazz musicians in South Philadelphia, a rough place for Holiday because of her drug convictions and federal drug arrests. It wasn't the place she wanted to be at what turned out to be close to the end of her career. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday's last performances, given four months before her death, on July 17, 1959. Accompanied by her pianist, Jimmy Powers, she sings more than a dozen musical numbers (including Strange Fruit, God Bless the Child and What a Little Moonlight Can Do) interspersed with salty, often humorous, anecdotes to tell the story of Billie Holiday's complex life filled with some losses and many triumphs. In Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, the cold tones of the blues meets the heat of the night in this essentially one-woman show about the greatest Jazz singer that ever lived, Billie Holiday.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill premiered in 1986 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, prior to an Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre in the spring of 1986. That production subsequently transferred to the Westside Arts Theatre, New York City, and became a staple of regional theatres. The play opened on Broadway in 2014 at Circle in the Square, starring Audra McDonald who won a best-actress Tony for her performance in the show.

Cast: 1 female, 1 male

What people say:

"The richest jazz singing in town just now is at [this] subtle absorbing dramatic performance.... Evokes all the sordidness of a woman entirely shaped by suffering.... By the end ... one is filled with an unexpected joy.... Robertson's play is a spare, shrewdly constructed piece." — New York Times

"Hurts and exhilarates in just the right proportions." — New York Magazine

"Original and riveting." — The Times (London)

"A searing portrait of a woman whose art was triumphant." — On Stage

About the Playwright:

Lanie Robertson is an American playwright, actor, and educator, best known for his brilliant one woman plays, including Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, the story of Bille Holliday. Many of his plays were produced in Philadelphia, where he also taught literature and play-writing at the Philadelphia College of Art during the 1970s. He has written over 30 plays for regional and Off-Broadway theater. His plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and in towns in Virginia, Alaska, and Maine. Internationally, his work has been produced in Canada, England, France, Australia, and Japan.

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