Finding Billie Holiday!

Francesca Margo Harper

Auditioning over 100 actresses to play Billie Holiday.

Everyone who knows my work have been asking me about the audition process for finding Billie Holiday!

Honestly, I think that they aren't asking about the process - they are commenting on how difficult it must be to find someone talented enough to play this challenging role.

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Honestly, it wasn't difficult at all finding great talent, thanks to our Casting Director! The difficulty was narrowing it down to one person to play Billie! One thing this process reminded me of for sure - there are some endlessly talented Black women in this world and they always show up ready to SLAY.

As you may or may not know, JAG Productions is producing a 3-week, multi-venue, fully-staged production of the Tony award-winning play (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill) about jazz legend, Billie Holiday. The show was well received on Broadway and by regional theatre audiences across the country and we are so very excited to welcoming patrons to our staging of this gorgeous piece of theatre.

On April 9, 2018 at Nola Studios in NYC – we had over 100 actresses audition for the role of Billie Holiday. It was incredible! They each sang one of their songs and performed a monologue from the play. By the end of that day, I was completely exhausted and worn out but in a state of euphoria because of all the Black Girl Magic. 

The next day were callbacks. This is part of the audition process where you narrow down your favorite talent from day one. This was not easy at all! With some difficulty, I narrowed it down to 30 actresses. They all came back with the same materials, but this time they spent more time  working with me as director.

By the end of the day three actresses had stolen my heart. I wanted to hire them all but knew I couldn't. So I went home, got plenty of rest, took a bath, meditated, prayed and woke up the next day with a decision.

I am pleased to announce that award-winning actress Francesca Margo Harper has accepted and will portray the role of Billie Holiday in JAG's upcoming production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar &Grill!  To say that I'm excited is an understatement.

A huge thank you to Elissa Myers Casting for bringing us such incredible talent! I'm deeply humbled and cannot wait to share JAG’s (or ‘my’) version of this story with the Upper Valley!

Stay tuned for the full casting announcement.

Tickets: $35

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