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?