‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill’ Starring Audra McDonald Begins Previews March 25, 2014; Announces General Rush Policy

The producers of Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill are pleased to announce a general rush policy. A limited number of rush tickets, which are subject to availability, can be purchased at the box office of the Circle in the Square when the box office opens for the day of the performance on a first-come-first-served basis. The box office of the Circle in the Square opens at 10am Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday (starting March 30th). Rush tickets are $40 each and limited to two (2) tickets per customer.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill stars five-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald under the direction of Lonny Price (110 in the Shade, A Class Act), will begin previews Tuesday, March 25, 2014, with an official opening night on Sunday, April 13, 2014. The production will play a strictly limited 10-week engagement with only 70 performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre (1633 Broadway, on 50th Street btwn. Broadway and 8th Ave.).

Tickets are available via Telecharge.com, by calling (212) 239-6200, or at the box office of Circle in the Square.


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill recounts Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous. 1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her life. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses.

Among the songs that will be performed: “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”

Frequent collaborators Lonny Price and Audra McDonald have been developing and working on Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill for more than two years. The intimate setting of the Circle in the Square provides a unique theatrical experience, drawing audiences – especially those seated at the tables onstage – into the performance.

On Broadway, Price directed McDonald in 110 in the Shade for the Roundabout Theatre Company. He also directed her in both Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic in 2000 and Passion as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, the latter of which was telecast on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center.

The production features scenic design by James Noone, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, and sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy.

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


AUDRA McDONALD is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. A five-time Tony Award-winner (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), she has also appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden, Marie Christine (Tony nom.), Henry IV, and 110 in the Shade (Tony nom.). The Juilliard-trained soprano’s opera credits include La Voix Humaine and Send (who are you? I love you) at Houston Grand Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at LA Opera. On television, she was recently seen as the Mother Abbess in NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s “Private Practice” for four seasons. She has received Emmy nominations for “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Wit,” and her role as official host of PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center.” Other TV credits include “The Good Wife,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years,” “The Bedford Diaries,” “Kidnapped,” and the 1999 remake of “Annie.” On film, she has appeared in She Got Problems, Best Thief in the World, It Runs in the Family, The Object of My Affection, Seven Servants, and Rampart. A two-time Grammy Award-winner and exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, she released her fifth solo album for the label, Go Back Home, in May 2013. McDonald maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. Offstage, she is an ardent proponent of marriage equality. Of her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed at home: wife to her husband, actor Will Swenson, and mother to her daughter, Zoe Madeline.

LANIE ROBERTSON began his career in Philadelphia with The Insanity of Mary Girard, a play which recently toured Ireland. His plays have been performed at many regional theatres throughout the United States and the world. New York productions include Back County Crimes at Playwrights’ Horizons, Nasty Little Secrets at Primary Stages. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at both the Vineyard and the West Side Arts theatres, and Bringing Mother Down and Cannibal’s Waltz at the Abingdon Theatre. In 1987, he won the Outer Critics Circle Award for his Off-Broadway hit, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which starred Lonette McKee as Billie Holiday, a role later assumed by Eartha Kitt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Loretta Divine and Jackee Harry. He was awarded the prestigious Kleban Award as best librettist for Stringbean. His play A Penny for the Guy has been produced by the Virginia Stage Co., the Geva Theatre, Buffalo’s Studio Theatre, and the Manitoba Theatre Center. His play Alfred Stieglitz Loves O’Keeffe toured with Stacey Keach and Margot Kidder in the title roles. It was later produced in Paris and is scheduled for a production in Warsaw. For television, Mr. Robertson wrote the Diana Ross special Red Hot ‘n’ Blue for ABC, and Journey Into Genius which aired on PBS’ “American Playhouse” and starred Matthew Modine. His published plays include Back County Crimes, Nasty Little Secrets, HE/SHE: Pizza Pie, The Insanity of Mary Girard and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. His one-woman play Woman Before a Glass ran off-Broadway in New York City.

LONNY PRICE. Broadway: Audra McDonald in 110 in the Shade , Danny Glover in Athol Fugard’s ‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys; Joan Rivers in Sally Marr and Her Escorts (which he co- wrote with Ms. Rivers and Erin Sanders); Jenn Colella in Urban Cowboy; and himself in A Class Act, for which he also co-wrote the book (with Linda Kline) and was nominated for a Tony Award. He recently directed the stage and film version of the New York Philharmonic’s all star production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company (starring Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, Christina Hendricks, Martha Plimpton, Patti LuPone, etc.), which played in over seven hundred movie theaters across the country. His also directed the stage and filmed versions of his tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert! in March of 2010, for which he received an Emmy Award. His other Philharmonic collaborations include the Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of Camelot, starring Gabriel Byrne; Candide, starring Kristin Chenoweth, (broadcast on Great Performances), and Sweeney Todd, starring Ms. LuPone and George Hearn for which he won an Emmy. His production of Sondheim’s Passion, starring Ms. LuPone, Audra McDonald, and Michael Cerveris also won the Emmy. Lonny’s Off-Broadway directorial work includes Visiting Mr. Green, starring Eli Wallach; Jules Feiffer’s Grown Ups; and Mary Pat Gleason’s Stopping Traffic, for the Vineyard Theatre. He made his opera directing debut at the Houston Grand Opera directing Audra McDonald in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Michael John LaChiusa’s Send. For his first feature film, ‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys, (starring Freddie Highmore and Ving Rhames), he received a Best Director Award from the New York International Independent FIlm and Video Festival. As an actor, he appeared on and Off-Broadway in a variety of plays and musicals, including Athol Fugard’s ‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys, Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, and Lanford Wilson’s Burn This. On film he is best remembered for playing Neil Kellerman, the hotel owner’s grandson in Dirty Dancing. For his acting work, he has received Obie, Theatre World, Drama League, and Drama Logue awards.