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Audra McDonald's Lady Day extends final time 5 Oct 2014

The Broadway premiere of Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, which opened at The Circle in the Square on 13 Apr 2014, following previews from 25 Mar 2014, has extended its limited engagement a final time, now playing through 5 Oct 2014.

The show was previously booking through 21 Sep 2014, with no performances from 1 to 7 Sep, due to Audra McDonald's, previously scheduled vacation. The show was originally set to close on 01 Jun 2014 and recently announced that it had recouped its initial investment of $2.6 million, and is now making profits.

The show opened to excellent reviews: Ms. McDonald sings selections from Holiday's repertoire with sensitive musicianship and rich seams of feeling that command rapt admiration (NY Times); Captivating, surprising and satisfying (NY Daily News); McDonald gives a performance as technical as anything she's ever done (NY Post).

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill stars Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday. Ms. McDonald is a six-time Tony Award winner, and recently took home the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance as Billy Holliday, making Tony Award history for the most awards won by a single person, as well as the becoming the only person to win in all four performance categories.

Other Tony Awards were awarded for her appearances in 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess', 'A Raisin in the Sun', 'Ragtime', 'Master Class' and 'Carousel.' Her other Broadway credits include '110 in the Shade' (Tony nominee), 'Henry IV,' 'Marie Christine' (Tony nominee) and 'The Secret Garden.'

Synopsis: "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."

The show premiered Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in 1986 starring Lonette McKee as Billie Holiday, where it played for 281 performances. The NY Times said the show "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."

Since its Off-Broadway production the musical has regularly been produced nationally and internationally.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is directed by Lonny Price and produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Jessica Genick, who are joined by Will Trice, Ronald Frankel, Rebecca Gold, Roger Berlind, Ken Greiner, Gabrielle Palitz, Irene Gandy and GFour Productions.

- by Bona Ruocco

Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday

Originally published on