Lanie Robertson's 1968 musical play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill opened at New York's Circle in the Square Theatre in 2014 to record-breaking sales and a flurry of awards including a 'Best Leading Actress in a Play' Tony to add to star Audra McDonald's lenghty list of accolades.
This sixth Tony makes McDonald officially the most decorated performer on Broadway and the only person in history to win an award for all four Tony acting categories. While the show's critical reception on Broadway wasn't as enthusiastic as the audience reaction, reviewers were unanimous in their unbridled praise for McDonald's performance.
Now after creating a buzz stateside, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill will get its UK premiere in summer 2016 — and the leading lady will reprise her role.
Based on the life of pioneering jazz singer Billie 'Lady Day' Holiday, the show whisks audiences away to a Philadelphia bar in 1959. In a concert just months before her untimely death, Holiday shares snippets of her turbulent life story, knocks back the booze and sings in the spotlight. Hits including 'Strange Fruit', 'Taint Nobody's Biz-ness' and 'What a Little Moonlight Can Do', vivified by McDonald, punctuate an increasingly heart-rending story of addiction and instability.
While the conceit of Holiday talking aloud as part of the concert might not be the most convincing dramatically, word from Broadway is that this show is worth seeing for the sheer talent of Audra McDonald, whose superb vocals 'breathe aching life' into Holiday's songs.
|What||Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Wyndham's Theatre|
32 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA | MAP
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
17 Jun 17 – 09 Sep 17, Check website for additional timing
|Price||£19.50 - £62.50|