"Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" is set on an evening in March 1959 - four months before Billie's death (at the age of 44) of Cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure - resulting from years of alcohol and drug addiction. Perseverance Theatre has transformed the Old Elks Hall in downtown Juneau into the infamous Emerson's Bar and Grill, which is reportedly where Billie Holiday gave her last performance.
Drinks will be served before the performance and during intermission so patrons 20 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The show uses some of Billie's greatest hits including "God Bless the Child," "Strange Fruit," and 'What a Little Moonlight Can Do," and spoken dialogue Lady Day seeks to give a glimpse into the tumultuous life of the woman who defined the voice of jazz and continues to inspire generation after generation.
Ericka Michelle Lee who has appeared in numerous productions at Perseverance including "Tommy," "Noises Off," "Hair," and this seasons world premiere musical "Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life," stars in Lady Day as the lady herself, Billie Holiday. Ericka's charisma and charm make here the perfect PT Company member to portray a woman known for her amazing stage persona. Rory Stitt who also served as the music director this production plays Jimmy Powers, accompanying Lee on the jazz piano.
This is Wilder's directorial debut. Wilder worked as the Production Manager at the Vineyard Theatre in New York where Lady Day had its premiere. This production later moved off-broadway. Sue is long time friend of Perseverance and has been with the theatre from it's early days with Molly Smith. Most recently Sue appeared on the Second Stage at Perseverance as Annalise in "The Typographer's Dream" and was the production stage manager for last season's "The Who's Tommy."
Over the last 10 years Stitt has worked as actor, sound designer, composer, orchestrator and music director. Stitt's most recent credits with Perseverance include creating the orchestrations for "Yeast Nation," sound design for last season's "Equus," and playing the title role in last season's "The Who's Tommy." Stitt tours biannually in support of his solo work under the management of Betsy Sims. He has played Joe's Pub in the Public Theatre in Manhattan, The Knitting Factory in L.A. and this year will be seen on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Derron Peterson will be creating the set and lighting design for "Lady Day." Past credits include "Blood Wedding," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," and "Sweeny Todd." Meaghan C. Wills Perseverance Theatre's costume shop manager will be designing the costumes for this production making her Perseverance design debut. Christianna Huber PT's properties intern will be creating the period props and set dressing.
For tickets or more information, call Perseverance Theatre at (907) 463-TIXS or visit www.perseverancetheatre.org.