Ruth Leon recommends… Lady Day – Audra MacdonaldRuth Leon recommends
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill – Audra Macdonald
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I recently had occasion to watch again Audra Macdonald’s stunning performance as Billie Holliday in what is so much more than a biographical and musical picture of a great artist who died much too young. It’s a heartbreaking and beautiful play which, while including all Billie Holliday’s famous signature songs, is also an insight into a society and a world that was not able to encompass her.
It’s March 1959, and at a small Philadelphia club, a star vocalist takes the stage for one of the last shows of her life. This powerhouse performance conjures jazz icon Billie Holiday, known evermore to jazz lovers as Lady Day, for an intimate cabaret evening featuring live renditions of her most beloved classics, and a revealing glimpse into the troubled history of the woman behind the legend. This play with music is a testament to one woman’s ability to mine humour from hardship—and to the transformative power of song.
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