JAG Productions is bringing the life of Billie Holiday, legendary jazz singer, to the Upper Valley stage. It will present Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (written by Lanie Robertson) in three different locations: the Engine Room (May 24-27) in White River Junction VT, the Grange Theater (May 31-June 3) in Pomfret VT, and the Main Street Landing’s Black Box Theater (June 7-10) in Burlington VT.
Internationally-acclaimed Francesca Harper (photo, top) will lead the cast in the role of Holiday. Her list of accomplishments and credits is long, varied and impressive. She was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and has performed at the White House, on Broadway, and on several television programs, including Boardwalk Empire. She was a ballet consultant for the film Black Swan and has choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. And she sings— jazz.
Billie Holiday was a talented and famous singer who fell on hard times; one of her last live performances was in a seedy bar in Philadelphia in 1959. Lady Day recreates and tells the story of that performance. Holiday died shortly thereafter at the age of 44. Actress/singer Audra McDonald won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Holiday in this play in 2014.
About JAG Productions, from its Producing Artistic Director, Jarvis Antonio Green: “Founded in 2015 in the Upper Valley of Vermont, JAG Productions’ mission is to produce classic and contemporary African-American theatre; to serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thereby, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community through shared understandings of the humankind through the lens of the African-American experience. The company is unique in the state of Vermont, in terms of its identity, aspirations, and accomplishments, in testimony to which it was awarded the New England Theatre Conference’s Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Theatre for its 2016-17 season.”
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