Billie Holiday Brought to Life by Laurin Talese in PTC’s Lady Day

Screenwriter Lanie Robertson and actress Laurin Talese backstage on Opening Night of LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL at Philadelphia Theatre Company

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music, in a smooth, emotional 90 minute concert of her life.

Tony Award-winning Robert Kaplowitz returns to PTC as Sound Designer for this production, Barrymore winning Scenic and Lighting Designer Thom Weaver and Lanie Robertson, playwriter of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

The creative team put a lot of effort into creating an immersive theatrical experience for the audience. By setting the show in a seedy bar and allowing the audience to watch while sitting on the stage, they are creating a unique environment that helps transport viewers into the world of the play. The involvement of local Philadelphia-based designers, as well as award-winning designers like Thom Weaver and Robert Kaplowitz, should help to ensure that the set, lighting, sound, and costumes are all top-notch, all the way down to the gardenia that Billie Holiday often wore in her hair.

Michael Lewis, Judge Kathryn Lewiis, Rosakyn Robinson and Warren English

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to close out our season with this fantastic musical event about the life and music of the extraordinary Billie Holiday,” says PTC Co-Artistic Director Tyler Dobrowsky. “And with Jeffrey Page at the helm, fresh off his Broadway debut, and the luminous Laurin Talese playing Lady Day, this will be a production you won’t want to miss. Join us for a page right out of Philadelphia history.”

Khemist O, Dani Allen, Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement at The Philadelphia Orchestra and Frank Machos, executive director for the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of the Arts & Creative Learning.
Laura Steel, Patricia Oelbaum and Elliott Schwartz, PTC Board Member
Ryan Schrader, Board of Directors and Yolanda Booker
Remember to get there at least 20 minutes before showtime, as your seat is on the stage and late arrivals will ruin it for the rest of us sitting down to relax and see the show, as well as disturb Billie who might just take it out on you.

Tickets for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill are on sale now. Tickets start at $25 and are available at Click Here, by calling 215-985-0420, or by visiting the Box Office. Connect with Philadelphia Theatre Company for the latest updates on social at @philatheatreco on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and @philatheatre on TikTok.

Philadelphia Theater Company sponsors posed backstage on opening with the star Laurin Talese who have made this production, and our season, possible. Honorary Producers for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill are Alice L. George and Lou Oschmann. Season Sponsors include Independence Blue Cross and Center City Film & Video.