It may have freed Ms. Robertson, but the ghost lives on at Circle in the Square where Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill plays through August 10th.
There is no joy in watching Billie Holliday (Audra McDonald) stumble around the stage.
|Audra McDonald is "Lady Day." Photo|
by Evgenia Eliseeva
In 1948, after her release from prison, friends had arranged a Carnegie Hall appearance for her; although Lady Day was uncomfortable in white-run venues and toney spots, she sold out Carnegie Hall and gave it her best, singing 32 standards and her own repertoire, including her 1930's hit "Strange Fruit."
The pleasure in this play is watching as Audra McDonald turns herself into the embittered, nearly beaten Lady Day. Audra McDonald is nowhere to be found or seen in this performance. Her acting is a totally self-effacing feat; she disappears into the character. Abused, self-loathing and completely self-destructive, Billie Holiday still did not consider singing the blues. "I'm a jazz singer," Lady Day says.
"Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" is a one woman show with support from Shelton Becton who plays Jimmy Powers, Lady's piano player and apologist. Clayton Craddock is on drums with George Farmer playing the bass in the three piece band backing Billie Holiday.
For more information about "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," please visit http://ladydayonbroadway.com/