Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

Critics

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 11

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

February 6 - March 1, 2020

Ebony Repertory Theatre
Presents
The International City Theatre Production of
LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL
By Lanie Robertson
Directed by Wren T. Brown
Music Direction by Stephan Terry

TICKETS ($25 - $50): http://www.itsmyseat.com/ERT/

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) will star in the title role along with music director Stephan Terry (NAACP Award-winner for Recorded in Hollywood at the Kirk Douglas Theatre).

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL will feature 14 of Billie Holiday’s hits including “When A Woman Loves A Man,” “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Easy Livin’,” “Strange Fruit,” among others.

The creative team for LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL includes set designer Edward E. Haynes, costume designer Kim DeShazo, lighting designer Donna Ruzika, sound designer Corwin Evans, prop designers Patty and Gordon Briles, and hair and wig designer Anthony Gagliardi. Casting is by Michael Donovan.

Ebony Repertory Theatre’s presentation of LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL was previously produced by International City Theatre in Long Beach, October 16 through November 3, 2019. The production starred Karole Foreman with music direction by Stephan Terry and was directed by Wren T. Brown.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL had its world premiere in 1986 at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. It has been produced Off-Broadway, on Broadway, in London’s West End, and in other notable theatres around the world.

The running time for LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL is 1 hour and 30 minutes, with no intermission.

For more information, please email info@ebonyrep.org or call 323-964-9766.

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Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
4718 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Reviews

Avatar

Now, Los Angeles audiences get the privilege to witness Foreman’s impeccable, dazzling performance, and a voice like velvet, in celebration and tribute to Billie Holiday’s tragic life story.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

Foreman does a remarkable and memorable performance as Holiday. She was smart, funny, and relatable and could out drink anyone of her male friends. When she sings one of her melodic songs, Foreman closes her eyes, says the words in such a tender way it’s impossible not to be affected. You feel Holiday’s pain, the loves she has lost and the aggravation of being mistreated because she was a black woman...

...She was a fragile soul with a foul mouth, imbibed heavily and sang her heart out. The best Holiday story. That’s a legacy difficult it emulate but easy to admire. Foreman does a hell of a job in capturing the elusive soul of Holiday.

sweet - Mary Montoro - All About the Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

On stage until March 1st at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” traces the downward spiral of jazz singer Billie Holiday’s tragic life while casting a harsh light on the racist rot at the heart of America’s soul.

Brilliantly portrayed by Karole Foreman, Billie has driven down from Harlem that afternoon to perform in the intimate cabaret setting she so loved in a seedy South Philly club. Along with her pianist and last lover Jimmy Powers (played by Stephan Terry), she recreates what would be her final performance, four months before she died of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis in July of 1959.

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - LA Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

Thanks to Lanie Robertson’s bedrock-basic script, Wren Brown’s dedicated staging, Karole Foreman’s extraordinarily vulnerable performance, and Stephan Terry’s elegant piano playing, Ebony Rep’s 90-minute revival of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill pays full homage to Billie Holiday’s heroism and heartbreak.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

The group’s latest, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, by Lanie Robertson, runs through March 1 and is a noble addition to the company’s storied history. Brown’s directorial debut for ERT is a showcase for this moving portrait of icon Billie Holiday, as channeled by Karole Foreman.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Avatar

It is an event which highly recommends not only theatre at its finest, but also showcases a bravura performance by Karole Foreman (“Billie Holiday”) augmented by the enormous contribution of Stephan Terry (“Jimmy Powers”).

sweet - Bill Reese - Table to Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

International City Theatre’s current production boasts the magnificent Karole Foreman in the lead role; she delivers impeccably in telling Holiday’s disturbing and humorous tales, but she also offers performances during the musical numbers that impress in vocal quality and land very closely to Holiday’s distinctive sound.

sweet - Cory Bilicko - Signal Tribune - ...read full review


Avatar

From the first syllables of the first song, she draws you into the essence of Lady Day. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter and very broken, she is always alluring. Some performers approach the spirit of Billy Holiday with a ferocity that makes you aware that you are a hostage. Foreman is like smoke exhaled slowly. She enfolds the audience seductively, hypnotically until they are willing participants in this emotional heist. Bottom line — she will steal your heart.

sweet - Sean McMullen - The Grunion - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Ms. Foreman as Billie develops a sweet, self-effacing rapport with the audience, telling all the important stories of her life from childhood to the present moment, interspersed with songs that are heavy with love and desire, as well as loss. She roams out into the audience talking and making eye contact and even touching some as she spins her tales. Sitting on the aisle in the third row, I got a sweet dose of her charisma in an all too brief exchange of smiles and glances.

... The songs are profoundly affecting, none more so than “Strange Fruit,” that puts to music the horror of lynching. A song of extraordinary emotional power; just the memory of it makes my eyes get moist as I write this. In the theatre I needed a hanky. I confess to being an emotional sap. When the audience leapt up at curtain call for an instantaneous standing ovation that went on and on, tears rolled down my cheeks.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

The utterly convincing Foreman walks an unsteady Holiday up the theater’s aisles, where we hope Holiday doesn’t lose her footing or more. This Holiday didn’t do cross-training, didn’t hydrate, didn’t eat organic. We hope Foreman is taking good care of herself, however, because the stamina and focus needed for this performance must be a bit brutal on the body and mind.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” is indeed about Holiday and this evening of her cabaret act. It’s also about a race, a gender, an entire species. How could we treat one another this way — lynching, raping, drug-pushing, even just saying the vilest things? And then, how could the human spirit rise above and fill a voice like hers?

sweet - Dany Margolies - Press Telegram - ...read full review


Avatar

For jazz and blues music aficionados, for musical history buffs, and/or for those simply interested in having an engrossing theatrical experience, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is a must-see show.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

Now, Los Angeles audiences get the privilege to witness Foreman’s impeccable, dazzling performance, and a voice like velvet, in celebration and tribute to Billie Holiday’s tragic life story.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

Foreman does a remarkable and memorable performance as Holiday. She was smart, funny, and relatable and could out drink anyone of her male friends. When she sings one of her melodic songs, Foreman closes her eyes, says the words in such a tender way it’s impossible not to be affected. You feel Holiday’s pain, the loves she has lost and the aggravation of being mistreated because she was a black woman...

...She was a fragile soul with a foul mouth, imbibed heavily and sang her heart out. The best Holiday story. That’s a legacy difficult it emulate but easy to admire. Foreman does a hell of a job in capturing the elusive soul of Holiday.

sweet - Mary Montoro - All About the Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

On stage until March 1st at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” traces the downward spiral of jazz singer Billie Holiday’s tragic life while casting a harsh light on the racist rot at the heart of America’s soul.

Brilliantly portrayed by Karole Foreman, Billie has driven down from Harlem that afternoon to perform in the intimate cabaret setting she so loved in a seedy South Philly club. Along with her pianist and last lover Jimmy Powers (played by Stephan Terry), she recreates what would be her final performance, four months before she died of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis in July of 1959.

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - LA Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

Thanks to Lanie Robertson’s bedrock-basic script, Wren Brown’s dedicated staging, Karole Foreman’s extraordinarily vulnerable performance, and Stephan Terry’s elegant piano playing, Ebony Rep’s 90-minute revival of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill pays full homage to Billie Holiday’s heroism and heartbreak.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

The group’s latest, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, by Lanie Robertson, runs through March 1 and is a noble addition to the company’s storied history. Brown’s directorial debut for ERT is a showcase for this moving portrait of icon Billie Holiday, as channeled by Karole Foreman.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Avatar

It is an event which highly recommends not only theatre at its finest, but also showcases a bravura performance by Karole Foreman (“Billie Holiday”) augmented by the enormous contribution of Stephan Terry (“Jimmy Powers”).

sweet - Bill Reese - Table to Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

International City Theatre’s current production boasts the magnificent Karole Foreman in the lead role; she delivers impeccably in telling Holiday’s disturbing and humorous tales, but she also offers performances during the musical numbers that impress in vocal quality and land very closely to Holiday’s distinctive sound.

sweet - Cory Bilicko - Signal Tribune - ...read full review


Avatar

From the first syllables of the first song, she draws you into the essence of Lady Day. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter and very broken, she is always alluring. Some performers approach the spirit of Billy Holiday with a ferocity that makes you aware that you are a hostage. Foreman is like smoke exhaled slowly. She enfolds the audience seductively, hypnotically until they are willing participants in this emotional heist. Bottom line — she will steal your heart.

sweet - Sean McMullen - The Grunion - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Ms. Foreman as Billie develops a sweet, self-effacing rapport with the audience, telling all the important stories of her life from childhood to the present moment, interspersed with songs that are heavy with love and desire, as well as loss. She roams out into the audience talking and making eye contact and even touching some as she spins her tales. Sitting on the aisle in the third row, I got a sweet dose of her charisma in an all too brief exchange of smiles and glances.

... The songs are profoundly affecting, none more so than “Strange Fruit,” that puts to music the horror of lynching. A song of extraordinary emotional power; just the memory of it makes my eyes get moist as I write this. In the theatre I needed a hanky. I confess to being an emotional sap. When the audience leapt up at curtain call for an instantaneous standing ovation that went on and on, tears rolled down my cheeks.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

The utterly convincing Foreman walks an unsteady Holiday up the theater’s aisles, where we hope Holiday doesn’t lose her footing or more. This Holiday didn’t do cross-training, didn’t hydrate, didn’t eat organic. We hope Foreman is taking good care of herself, however, because the stamina and focus needed for this performance must be a bit brutal on the body and mind.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” is indeed about Holiday and this evening of her cabaret act. It’s also about a race, a gender, an entire species. How could we treat one another this way — lynching, raping, drug-pushing, even just saying the vilest things? And then, how could the human spirit rise above and fill a voice like hers?

sweet - Dany Margolies - Press Telegram - ...read full review


Avatar

For jazz and blues music aficionados, for musical history buffs, and/or for those simply interested in having an engrossing theatrical experience, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is a must-see show.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review