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Audra McDonald Will Indeed Star As Billie Holiday In Lanie Robertson's 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
February 25, 2014 5:12 PM
2 Comments
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Audra McDonald

UPDATE: The news last week was that she was rumored to be interested in the project. The news a week later (today), is that she's definitely going to star in the production, with an April 13 open for a limited 10-week run at Circle the Square Theater, with previews starting on March 25. Last week's original post follows below with details on the project:

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First, Audra McDonald may return to Broadway a lot sooner than recently announced; we already know that she'll be co-starring with Oprah Winfrey in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1983 play Night, Mother, which is scheduled for a 2015/2016 run.

Before that, however, she just might be playing Billie Holiday in a production of Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

The versatile, multi-Tony Award winning actress is said to be in talks to star in the show, which is set in 1959 in a seedy Philadelphia bar, and relives Billie Holiday's last performance, taking place only four months before her death at age 44. 

The production made its debut off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 1989, and starred Lonette McKee. The show most recently played last Spring in Chicago at Porchlight Music Theatre, starring Alexis J. Rogers

And Dee Dee Bridgewater just ended an off-Broadway run in a different musical on the same subject, titled simply Lady Day

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill has toured the world since its debut.

Assuming an agreement is reached, McDonald's version will be housed at the Circle in the Square Theatre beginning later this theatre season.

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2 Comments

  • Geneva Girl | February 26, 2014 4:48 PMReply

    Since everyone seemed to be so happy with Renee Fleming's classical version of the national anthem, I nominate Audra to sing it next year. She definitely has the pipes to do it justice.

  • Micah | February 25, 2014 8:53 PMReply

    This woman has an amazing voice. I've only recently seen clips of her online. I would love to she make a solid jump to film. A jump where she could easily bounce back and forth from broadway.

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