*Audra McDonald will star as Billie Holliday this spring in the Broadway production “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” a musical that imagines one of Holiday’s last performances in 1959.
Producers said Tuesday that the five-time Tony Award-winner will star as an ailing Holiday in a small club in Philadelphia, where she will let loose on such timeless classics as “Somebody’s On My Mind,” ”Don’t Explain” and “Strange Fruit.”
Previews begin March 25 at the Circle in the Square Theatre and opening night is set for April 13. The venue will allow some lucky members of the audience to sit at tables onstage.
The show was written by Lanie Robertson and will be directed by Lonny Price. Producers are Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel.
McDonald spent four seasons on TV’s “Private Practice” and won her fifth Tony Award for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” She won raves as Mother Superior in the recent live NBC special “The Sound of Music” with Carrie Underwood. She released her fifth solo album, “Go Back Home,” last summer.