Francesca Harper

Vermont's one and only award-winning, professional African-American Theatre company, will present, the profound jazz musical, LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL!


Submitted 7 months ago
Created by
JAG Productions

JAG Productions (Vermont's one and only award-winning, professional African-American Theatre company!), will present, the profound jazz musical, Lady Day  Emerson’s Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson. The show will be run from May 24th-May 27th at the Engine Room in White River Junction, May 31st-June 3rd at The Grange Theater in Pomfret and June 7-10 at Main Street Landing's Black Box Theater in Burlington, VT. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill will be directed by JAG Productions’ Founder & Producing Artistic Director, Jarvis Antonio Green.

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It’s 1959 and jazz legend Billie Holiday is playing a seedy bar in Philadelphia. It will be one of her last performances. As she shares stories about her stormy personal life, her battle with addiction and her ground-breaking vocal style, she also, of course, sings.​

Featuring a sensational score, including “God Bless The Child”, “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Strange Fruit”, this haunting play with captivating insights of the life of one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, is not to be missed.

JAG Productions was founded in 2015 by Jarvis Antonio Green with the mission 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 cast of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill will be led by Francesca Harper* (The Color Purple) as Billie Holiday and Nygel Robinson (Blue Suede Shoe’s) as Jimmy Powers.  The creative team for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill includes Jarvis Green (Director), Jeff Bolding (Music Director), Christian Kohn (scenic design), John B. Forbes (lighting design), and Tim Mikovitz (sound design).

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING:In anticipation for JAG Productions' Burlington Discover Jazz Festival debut - we are hosting a Billie Holiday Cocktail Hour at Deli 126 from 7:30-9:00 pm on June 6th. Join us in the jazz lounge at 126 College Street for after-dinner drinks, Billie Holiday hits, and to meet the cast of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

Tickets for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, can be purchased at www.JAGProductionsVT.com or by calling 802.332.3270.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

White River Junction -- The Engine Room, 188 South Main St.
Thursday-Saturday, May 24-26, 7:30pm
Sunday, May 27, 4:00pm Tickets: $35 **Doors open 1 hour before performance. Food and drink available for purchase before and after the show, catered by Big Fatty's BBQ! Both food and drink are allowed in the venue during performances.**

Pomfret -- The Grange Theatre, 65 Stage Rd.
Thursday-Saturday, May 31-June 2, 7:30pm
Saturday, June 2, 2:00pm Sunday, June 3, 4:00pm Tickets: $35 **Food and drink available for purchase before the show at the Grange Theatre concession stand, powered by the Barnard Inn! Both food and drink are allowed in the venue during performances.**

Burlington -- Black Box Theatre @ Main St. Landing, 60 Lake St.
Thursday-Saturday, June 7-9, 7:30pm
Saturday, June 9, 2:00pm Sunday, June 10, 4:00pm Tickets: $35

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Francesca Harper* (Billie Holiday) Francesca is honored and grateful to Jarvis Green to be given the opportunity to play this role and to all of the incredible African Americans that endured and paved the way for others.  Francesca has worked with the prestigious dance company, Dance Theater of Harlem and William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt (Principal). She performed on Broadway productions such as The Color Purple, (Shug, Squeak, U/S), Fosse, The Producers, All Shook Up, (Mama U/S), The Frogs,  Off Broadway performances include: Sleep No More, (Ceci Robertson), Sweet Charity, (Helene), Sophisticated Ladies, (Judith), Langston in Harlem, (Mrs. Poindexter), The CA Lyons Project, (Amandla), House Arrest, (Sally), 50 Minutes with Harriet and Phillis, Zinnias, and The Look of Feeling. She’s appeared on several TV shows and films, such as David Letterman Show, Oprah Winfrey Show, The Producers Movie Musical, Ballet consultant for Darren Aronofsky’s feature film Black Swan. Her hard work and dedication led to her winning various awards, Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Louis Vuitton Innovation and Technology Award, Living History Award, just to name a few. Her choreography credits include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Balé Da Cidade, Hubbard Street, and many more.  Harper is currently the Artistic Director of The Francesca Harper Project, and The Movement Invention Project.

Nygel Robinson* (Jimmy Powers) is an Actor/Singer/Songwriter based in NYC. His recent theatre credits include ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ (Florida Studio Theatre), Joe Perkins in ‘Freedom Riders’ (NYMF), Brian in ‘Woody’ (NYMF), and Ensemble/Horse u/s in 'The Full Monty’ (John W. Engeman Theatre). To God be the glory. For Emma and Dianne.

Laine Robertson (Playwright) writes about iconic artists and the societal issues they faced in Nasty Little Secrets, Alfred Stiegletz Loves O’Keeffe, and Woman Before a Glass.  His plays been produced internationally and at the Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Delaware Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Festival d’Avignon, George Street Playhouse, Kennedy Center, Old Globe, Philadelphia Theatre Company , Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Theatre de la Huchette, Theatre Petite Montparnasse, Theatre Silvia Montforte, Vineyard Theatre, Virginia Stage, Walnut Street Theatre, Westside Arts, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Current plays include nobody Lonesome for Me, and The Gardener. Recently he completed his first novel, Monkey to the Solution. He’s a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, East; and the Societe des Auteres et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

Jarvis Antonio Green (Director) moved from New York City to the Upper Valley in 2011 and founded BarnArts Center for the Arts in Barnard, VT.  He then became the Director of Theatre Arts for ArtisTree Community Arts Center located outside of beautiful Woodstock, VT.  In 2015, Jarvis became the founding Producing Artistic Director of JAG Productions with the mission to bring more compassion, empathy, and love into the world through the lens of African-American theater.  Jarvis received his training at the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City, Anderson University and South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts.  Directing credits include: Fences, Choir Boy (JAG Productions), Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Fiddler on the Roof (ArtisTree Theatre Company), The 39 Steps, Master Class, Porgy and Bess in Concert, Oliver!, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors (BarnArts Center for the Arts), Seussical the Musical (NCCT).  As an actor, he has enjoyed an extensive career on the stage in My Heart is the Drum (World Premiere), Once On This Island, The Who’s Tommy (Village Theatre), Twelfth Night (RAW Shakespeare Company), Our Town, Clybourne Park, Twelve Angry Men (Northern Stage), The Wizard of Oz, Pirates of Penzance (Pentangle Arts), Ragtime (New London Barn Playhouse), Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, A Chorus Line, La Cage Aux Folles, A New Brain (Capital Playhouse), Smokey Joe’s Café (Bellevue Civic Theatre), The Buddy Holly Story (5th Ave Theatre), Stardust (Harlequin Playhouse), The Play’s The Thing, Black Nativity, Our Town (Intiman Theatre). 

Jeff Bolding(Music Director)2015 AUDELCO winner, "Outstanding Musical Director" for FLAMBEAUX, Obsidian Media Group Productions (OMG) Larry Floyd, Director/Co-composer, is a native of Washington, DC, is a three time AUDELCO winner and honored to have received his first AUDELCO in the original cast of GREAT MEN OF GOSPEL, Elizabeth Van Dyke, Author/Director, Woodie King, Producer, New Federal Theatre (2002).  This production was recently re-released in concert format and performed in NJ, November 2017. Other AUDELCO wins include best ensemble production of revised Ain't Nothing But the Blues, (2010), serving as Musical Director (nominated for best MD). Jeff served 20 years in music ministry at The Abyssinian Baptist Church and was the director/pianist for The Chancel Choir and Inspirational Voices (see document, Performance Report with Abyssinian Baptist Church, NY, NY.) Other 2015 projects include The First Lady, (OMG), The Flip Side of the Coin, Miss Hazel's House of Heavenly Rest, and most recently, To You, Mr. Hughes, (April 2018),Hazel Rosetta Smith writer/director, (Help Somebody Ministries), GreenFaith/OurVoices Song Leader for "One World, One Family" climate March, Rome, Italy (June 2015), song contributor/ensemble member on recording/concert tour "Pray for Peace" in Japan, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with Pastor Terrance Kennedy's "New Hope for the World Ministries", and served as Director, The Interchurch Center Gospel Choir. Jeff served seven seasons as Musical Director for Harlem School of the Arts, Christmas extravaganza, “Soul Nativity”, Traci Johnson, Alfred Preisser, Writers/Directors.

ABOUT JAG PRODUCTIONS:
JAG Productions was formed in 2015 with the mission 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.

In the company’s first season (2016-2017), JAG Productions established itself as an Upper Valley arts institution of merit, producing two highly impactful theatre pieces (August Wilson’s FENCES and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s CHOIR BOY), one child-focused play (inspired by the events of The Little Rock 9, POLKADOTS: THE COOL KIDS MUSICAL), and two multidisciplinary, weekend performing arts festivals of new works (JAGfest 1.0 & 2.0) – all celebrating the talents of African-American playwrights and performing artists.

JAG is firmly grounded in the region, and accordingly, we stage our performances in venues of Upper Valley communities. Over 4,000 Upper Valley theater goers and 600 students from 9 schools have attended JAG performances to date. As part of our outreach mission, students from local schools attend free of charge. Performances included a variety of community engagement activities including public talkbacks with the actors and regional scholars.

In recognition of its work, JAG Productions was recently honored by The New England Theater Conference (NETC) as the 2017 recipient of the Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Theatre. This would be a very significant accomplishment for any New England theatre company, but as this was our premiere season, it was a particularly exciting recognition of JAG’s work.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.

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