Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

written by Lanie Robertson
directed by Summer L. Williams
MainStage Theater
MAR 28-APR 19/2020

Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill
a biographical play with iconic music
by Lanie Robertson


It’s 1959 in a bar in South Philadelphia for one of Billie Holiday’s final performances before her untimely death. At an intimate evening with Billie and her pianist, Holiday’s most famous songs are interlaced with reminiscences from her life, told with her unique, salty humor. Featuring “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Strange Fruit”, this biographical play with music by Lanie Robertson tells the incredible story of an icon who consistently battled racism, abuse, and addiction for her chance to sing.

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Lydia Harrell

Billie Holiday

Lydia Harrell

Billie Holiday

Lydia Harrell (Billie Holiday) is one of Boston’s finest musical treasures. Her sultry, soulful voice and evocative songwriting have garnered her the attention and respect of the nation’s finest musicians and venues. Jazz/Soul is where her heart is, however, Lydia has shown an unbreakable ability to mold herself into any musical situation. Be it performing with the Boston Pops, serenading NBA fans with America’s National Anthem, or lending her vocal talents to a chart-topping deep house singles by British record label, Reel People Music, Lydia’s dedication to extracting the pure essence of song goes virtually unmatched.

Lydia consistently performs in more than 150 shows a year not only as a solo act, but also in collaborations with other artists such as world renowned jazz musician, Bobby Floyd and as one-half of the duo “The Lady Parts” providing backing vocals for Zap Mama, Ryan Montbleau, Albert Cummings and more. Her most recent musical accolades include singing lead on a Bob Marley Tribute Album distributed by Sony Music Latin, winning the 2015 Duke Ellington Jazz Vocal Competition, performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC (2016) and winning the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Voice Competition.

Lydia is also an actor that has been seen in several regional and national commercials, billboards, short films and theatre productions. She starred in her first Boston 48 Hour Film Project and won Best Original song for the song she wrote “I Am Beautiful”.

Creative Team
Summer L. Williams, Director
Summer L. Williams



Announcing Lydia Harrell as Billie Holiday