Ebony Repertory Theatre brings a ruthless and charming representation of Billie Holiday’s life and career to Los Angeles with “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” The 90-minute production allows you to travel back in time to South Philadelphia year 1959, which was Holiday’s famous performance at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Karole Foreman (Billie Holiday) and Stephan Terry (Jimmy Powers) are the only two performers on stage, yet they undoubtedly captivate the entire audience throughout the production. With their relentless talent, they bring not just entertainment, but also a candid and outspoken timeline of Holiday’s life. The production is set in a way that allows Billie to narrate her story after every one of her songs. Soon enough, the audience recognizes a pattern of singing, followed by a drink of whiskey, followed by a telling of her life. We note that with every drink, Billie shares a deeper part of her life. Karole Foreman brilliantly represents the struggles that Holiday faced with addiction and her relentless pursuit of the American dream as an African American woman.
We see a true representation of Billie Holiday when Foreman is on stage. She is not shy about her speech and expression. Foreman’s capability to execute her character allows the audience to connect with Billie and recognize who she was as not just an artist, but as a person. This production allows for open conversations on topics other than entertainment, it brings to light discussions about race, individuality, and injustice. “Lady Day” plays through March 1st, 2020. For tickets click here: EbonyRep.org.
Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT) presents The International City Theatre Production of LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL by Lanie Robertson. Director and actor Wren T. Brown, who serves as ERT’s Producing Artistic Director directs his first ERT production for the Los Angeles award-winning theatre company. This drama with music examines and explores the life of the legendary Billie Holiday during one of her final performances in Philadelphia, in March 1959, four months shy of her death, at the age of 44. Karole Foreman (Fences at International City Theatre) stars in the title role along with music director Stephan Terry (NAACP Award-winner for Recorded in Hollywood at the Kirk Douglas Theatre). The limited engagement plays through March 1 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. Tickets available at EbonyRep.org.