Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

by  Lanie Robertson

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  1m, 1f

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death.

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Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

by  Lanie Robertson

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Tony, From Broadway

Additional Info

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.
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Accolades

  • Winner! 2014 Tony® Award, Best Actress in a Play
    Winner! 2014 Drama Desk Award, Best Actress in a Play
    Winner! 2014 Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Actress in a Musical

Reviews

"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." - The New York Times

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

"Original and riveting." - The London Times

"A searing portrait of a woman whose art was triumphant." - OnStage

Videos

  • Audra McDonald in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill"
  • "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" - TheaterMania
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Considerations

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1950s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: A small bar in south Philadephia. Around midnight in March, 1959.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: Jazz
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo

Song Samples

I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone
0:00
When a Woman Loves a Man
0:00
What a Little Moonlight Can Do
0:00
God Bless the Child
0:00
Strange Fruit
0:00

Casting

1m, 1f
BILLIE HOLIDAY - the great jazz singer in the last year of her life, age 44
JIMMY POWERS - a piano player, any age
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Casting Notes

Male character plays the piano, plus 2 additional muscians.

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

3 Piano/Conductor Scores

Guitar/Harmonica
Bass

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Authors

Lanie Robertson

Lanie Robertson writes about iconic artists and the societal issues they faced in Nasty Little Secrets, Alfred Stiegletz Loves O’Keeffe, and Woman Before a Glass. His plays have been produced internationally and at the Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Delaware Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Festival d’Avignon, George Street P ...

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The world premiere of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill opened at the Westside Theatre, New York City on September 7, 1986.

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