Take a Trip Back in Time to the Final Days of One of Jazz’s Brightest Stars: Billie Holiday

HRTC_Lay Day promo

Tanesha Gary as Billie Holiday. Photo by Heather N. Powell.

The Human Race kicks off its 33rd season with LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL by Lanie Robertson, running September 12-29

(DAYTON, Ohio) In 1959, Billie Holiday, or “Lady Day” as she was called, performed one of her final shows in a run-down bar in South Philly. In Robertson’s award-winning play, Holiday engages the audience with salty, often humorous reminiscences of her troubled life as a travelling performer in a segregated south. With the help of her piano man, Jimmy Powers, she lets music tell her story, sharing soulful, heart-wrenching and bawdy songs from her memorable canon including: “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child,” “When a Woman Loves a Man,” and “Taint Nobody’s Business If I Do.”

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL is directed by HRTC Founding Resident Artist Scott Stoney, who says about the show, “What I think is most interesting about this show is Billie herself. We don’t usually think of her as an activist, but she was an activist by virtue of her own personal experiences, how she was faced by racial injustices every step of her career, even as she was revered by the arts community. … I was particularly excited to direct this show because I knew I had the perfect Billie. [In 2011] I directed Caroline, or Change [at HRTC] and met Tanesha Gary, and when this show was mentioned to me, I knew she had to play Billie.”

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL stars Tanesha Gary as Billie Holiday and features a local jazz trio (Keigo Hirakawa, Deron B. Bell Sr, and Eddie Brookshire) as her backing band.

The preview performance of LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL is September 12; opening night is September 13. Both performances begin at 8 PM.

This production is sponsored by Beth and Alan Schaeffer, David and Dulie Greer, Marsha and Alan Pippenger, and the Billie Holiday Fan Club.

All season long, The Human Race Theatre Company is partnering with The Neon for the “Women of Influence in the Movies” series. Join us at The Neon on Monday September 23 at 7:30 pm for a double bill of New Orleans, in which a gambling hall owner entertains his patrons with hot jazz by Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, and the newly restored short film Symphony in Black, in which Billie Holiday makes her screen debut as Duke Ellington plays his symphonic jazz piece. Tickets are $8 each or $30 for a series pass, available at neonmovies.com.

PERFORMANCE AND SPECIAL EVENT INFORMATION

Tickets for LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL start at $16. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and seating location. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Student tickets are available at 50% off regular adult prices and a student I.D. must be presented when picking up at the Box Office. The September 15th 7:00 p.m. performance is “Sawbuck Sunday,” when any available seat can be purchased in person for just $10 at the Loft Theatre box office two hours prior to the show. Discounts are subject to availability and some restrictions apply.

All performances are at the Metropolitan Art Center’s Loft Theatre, located at 126 North Main Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Show times for LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL are 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Performances on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings begin at 7:00 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday matinees.

Tickets and performance information for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill are available at www.humanracetheatre.org or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630, and at the Schuster Center box office.

# # #

2019-2020 marks the 33rd season for The Human Race Theatre Company, “Dayton’s Official Professional Theatre Company.” Founded in 1986, The Human Race moved into the Metropolitan Arts Center in 1991, taking up residence in its current home, the 212-seat Loft Theatre. In addition to the Eichelberger Loft Season, The Human Race produces new works development and special event programming. Under the direction of Executive Director Kappy Kilburn and Kevin Moore, Artistic Director, the company also maintains outreach programs, as well as artist residencies in area schools and a summer youth program. Human Race organizational support is provided by the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, Culture Works, the Shubert Foundation, the Erma R. Catterton Trust Fund, the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council, which helped fund this organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The 2019-2020 Sustainability Sponsors are the ELM Foundation, Anne F. Johnson, Steve and Lou Mason, Morris Home, the Schueler Group, and the Jesse & Caryl Philips Foundation. The 2019-2020 Loft season sponsor is the Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of the Dayton Foundation. The Women of Influence season sponsor is the Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts.

The Human Race Theatre Company presents
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL By Lanie Roberston

Directed by Scott Stoney
Music directed by Deron B. Bell Sr.

September 12-29, 2019

Performed at the Loft Theatre Metropolitan Arts Center
126 North Main Street (between First and Second streets)
Dayton, Ohio 45402

In 1959, Billie Holiday, or “Lady Day” as she was called, performed one of her final shows in a run-down bar in South Philly. In Robertson’s award-winning play, Holiday engages the audience with salty, often humorous reminiscences of her troubled life as a travelling performer in a segregated south. With the help of her piano man, Jimmy Powers, she lets music tell her story, sharing soulful, heart-wrenching and bawdy songs from her memorable canon including: “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child,” “When a Woman Loves a Man,” and “Taint Nobody’s Business If I Do.”

For tickets: Ticket Center Stage box office phone: (937) 228-3630 or visit www.humanracetheatre.org or www.ticketcenterstage.com.

Box office hours: Tuesday – Fridays, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Schuster Center; and two hours prior to each performance in the Loft Lobby. Ticket prices start at: $37 for adults, $34 for seniors and $19.50 for students. Prices vary depending on performance date.

Discounts: Select side-area seats available for $16 and $28 at all performances; “Sawbuck Sunday” September 15 at 7:00 p.m. – $10 seats available for walk up sales only.

Student Discounts: All adult priced tickets are discounted at 50% for students. *A student I.D. must be presented at the box office.

Military Discount: U.S. Military members (active duty & retired) can receive 50% off a Full Priced Adult Ticket with Military ID. *Limit 2 per performance.

Group sales: contact Betty Gould at (937) 461-8295 or Betty.Gould@victoriatheatre.com

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL performance dates:

  • Wednesday, September 11 8:00 p.m. Pay-What-You-CAN open rehearsal
  • Thursday, September 12 8:00 p.m. “Inside Track” pre-show discussion/Preview performance
  • Friday, September 13 8:00 p.m. Opening night with post-show lobby party
  • Saturday, September 14 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 15 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 15 7:00 p.m. “Sawbuck Sunday” – $10 tickets at the door
  • Tuesday, September 17 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 18 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 21 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 22 2:00 p.m. “While We’re on the Subject” post-show talk-back
  • Tuesday, September 24 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 25 13 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 26 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 27 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 28 16 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 29 2:00 p.m. Closing performance

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