Lady Day at Emerson’s

Lonny Price + Lady Day at Emerson's
Thursday, August 22 nd, 2019 at 00:08 am Dr Joy Browne
Director (s):
Lonny Price
Audra McDonald and Shelton Becton

Lady Day at Emerson’s is Audra McDonald channeling Billie Holiday at the Roundabout, and part of it is set in what looks like a nightclub, but the story is set in 1959 in March. Billie Holiday was three months away from dying of cirrhosis and heart failure and she played to an audience of 7 people and was noticebly drunk and high and stumbling, and Audra McDonald is vibrantly healthy, and the theater was packed. Audra McDonald is a terrific talent and she really does channel Billie Holiday, so there is no complaint there. the question is, how do you feel about watching someone impersonate someone else for an hour and a half. By the same reaction, that there has to be something more than just their artistry if someone is going to do it, and I think it is one of the reasons that Diana Ross won an Oscar for her role in Lady Sings the Blues. I thought Audra was fantastic, but I felt that the experience itself, dragged a bit. I think the problem is the material, not Audra, the material either needed more talking, or singing. 3 stars.