Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner Audra McDonald will make her long awaited West End debut this summer portraying legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in the musical play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. This critically acclaimed production will play a limited engagement at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre from 25 June to 3 September, having broken box office records at the Circle in the Square in New York in a run that netted McDonald her record-setting sixth Tony Award.
Written by Lanie Robertson and directed by Lonny Price, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill recounts Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous, including “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill won two Tony Awards in 2014 including ‘Best Lead Actress in a Play’ for Audra McDonald, making her Broadway’s most decorated performer, winner of 6 Tony Awards and the first and only person to receive awards in all four acting categories.
Billie ‘Lady Day’ Holiday had what is widely considered one of the greatest jazz voices of all-time. Born Eleanora Fagan in April 1915, she rose to popularity in the 1930’s and 1940’s with her pioneering vocal style strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists. After a turbulent personal life and struggle with addiction, she died at the untimely age of 44. In 2000, Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses.
Prior to making her West End debut in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill this summer, Audra McDonald will be in London performing two sold-out concerts at Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday 17 January before starring in Shuffle Along at the Music Box Theatre in New York with preview performances from Tuesday 15 March.