For four performances only, the Tony Award-winning, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” will play at the Waterfront Playhouse, now celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Set in a Philadelphia bar in 1959, the performance depicts one of the final performances by Billie Holiday, peppered with salty dialogue and such songs as ”When a Woman Loves a Man,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.” “Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer).””God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit,” “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” and many more.

The show stars Tracey Conyer Lee as Holiday. This marks Lee’s fifth production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Other recent roles include Clairee in “Steel Magnolias,” Cynthia in “Sweat” and Ida Green in “Into the Breeches.”

Lee’s other acting highlights include original off-Broadway casts of “Sistas, The Musical” and “Bedbugs!  It’s a Musical” as well as Carbonell, NAACP and Barrymore Award-winning work at regional theaters including Yale Rep, Baltimore Centerstage, Denver Center, Pittsburgh Public, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Portland Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Theatre of the Stars, Detroit Public Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, TheatreWorks, Delaware Theatre Co, Westport Playhouse, Merrimack Rep, Virginia Stage, Ogunquit Playhouse, Great Lakes, Cleveland Playhouse, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Pittsburgh CLO, Syracuse Stage, InterAct, Bucks County Playhouse, Weston Playhouse, national and international tours totaling more than 75 productions.

Onscreen highlights include roles on “The Path,” “SMASH,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Ed,” “All My Children” and  “Guiding Light.” Also a playwright, Lee’s plays have received development or production in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Vermont.

Kenney M. Greene will play her music director Jimmy.  His Off-Broadway credits include: “Finks!” and “Growing Up ‘70s” starring Barry Williams. National/European Tours: Smokey Joe’s Cafe starring Gladys Knight, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  He will be joined by Skipper Kripitz and Geoff Lowe.

Kevin R. Free, the director, is a multidisciplinary artist whose work as an actor, writer, director and producer has been showcased and developed in many places, including The Moth Radio Hour, Project Y Theater, Flux Theater Ensemble, the Queerly Festival (of which he is now the curator), and The Fire This Time Festival, where he served as producing artistic director for five years, winning an Obie for his work in 2015. 

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” which was written by Lanie Robertson, premiered in Atlanta in 1986 and opened on Broadway at Circle in the Square in April 2014.

 

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