LouisvilleKY’s Actors Theatre Will Kick Off The New Year With Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar And Grill January 3 – 29, 2017  


Louisville, KY – Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Kevin E. Moore are delighted to announce the cast and creative team for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. This commanding and moving play, written by Lanie Robertson, directed by Bill Fennelly and featuring Deidrie Henry as Billie Holiday, is set in the intimate atmosphere of the Bingham Theatre. The production will preview on January 3 and 4, open on January 5, and run through January 29 as part of the Brown-Forman Series, and it is underwritten by D.D. Williamson & Co. Tickets are available at 502.584.1205, online at ActorsTheatre.org, or in person by visiting the Actors Theatre Box Office at 316 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202.

It’s March 1959, and at a small Philadelphia club, a star vocalist takes the stage for one of the last shows of her life. This powerhouse performance conjures jazz icon Billie Holiday for an intimate cabaret evening featuring live renditions of her most beloved classics, and a revealing glimpse into the troubled history of the woman behind the legend. Funny and heartbreaking, this play with music is a testament to one woman’s ability to mine humor from hardship—and to the transformative power of song.

Actors Theatre streetview

Billie Holiday will be portrayed by Deidrie Henry (NAACP Best Actress Awards, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award). She will be accompanied by the musical talents ofAbdul Hamid Royal (The Ovation Award, The SAGE Award for Best Music Direction) as Jimmy Powers and Music Director. Additional onstage accompaniment will be provided by local musicians Chris King and Tyrone Wheeler.

Deidrie Henry (Billie Holiday) Los Angeles Theatre: A Raisin in the Sun and Parade at Center Theatre Group; Coming Home and Yellowman (Best Actress Awards from the NAACP, The Ovation Award, Backstage Garland Award and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award) at The Fountain Theatre; and Small Tragedy at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.Regional Theatre: It Can’t Happen Here and Yellowman at Berkeley Repertory Theatre;A Streetcar Named Desire and Closer at Portland Center Stage; American Night: The Ballad of Juan José at Yale Repertory Theatre; The Ballad of Emmett Till at Goodman Theatre; Oregon Shakespeare Festival for four seasons, appearing as Rosalind in As You Like It, Irina in Three Sisters, Susie in Wit, Ophelia in Hamlet, Vera Dotson in Seven Guitars; and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Helen Hayes Award nomination) at the Alliance Theatre, Hartford Stage, Arena Stage and the Huntington Theatre Company. Other Awards: Backstage Bistro Award (New York) for Outstanding Vocalist and Cabaret Debut for her cabaret, What a Day for a Daydream. Television: Game of Silence, The Riches, Criminal Minds, Justified, Glee and CSI. Film: Beyond the Lights and Beautiful Boy.

Abdul Hamid Royal (Jimmy Powers, Music Director) has won The Ovation Award, The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, and The SAGE Award for Best Music Direction for his work on The Gospel at Colonus; the NAACP Image Award for Broadway’s Five Guys Named Moe; and the StageSceneLA Award for Outstanding Musical Direction on Recorded in Hollywood. Broadway/International/National, as Music Director: Five Guys Named Moe, Twist, Sophisticated Ladies, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Jelly’s Last Jam, The Wiz, Truly Blessed, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Betsey Brown, Concerts for the Earth, Colors of Christmas, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Life.Composer/Arranger: Five Guys Named Moe, Truly Blessed, Body and Soul, Twist, Cole Porter Festival and Colors of Christmas. Recording Artists: Natalie Cole, Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, Cy Coleman, Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Liza Minnelli, Ashford & Simpson, Martha Wash, Jennifer Holliday, Jeffrey Osborne, Maurice Hines, Melba Moore, Patti Austin, Grover Washington Jr., Masashi Sada, Patti LaBelle, Christina Aguilera, Jason Mraz, Stevie Wonder, David Foster, Doc Powell, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ty Herndon, Freddie Walters, Brenda Russell and Phil Collins.

This talented team will be directed by Bill Fennelly, whose recent projects include The Underpants at Guild Hall; Hairspray and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Syracuse Stage (S.A.L.T. Award, Director of the Year, and Production of the Year for both); Herringbone(Barrymore Award Nomination for Best Director), and the world premiere of Fly By Nightat Dallas Theater Center and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto (Dallas Column Award for Best Director of a Musical and a Bay Area Critics Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical). Fennelly’s work has also been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally in productions such as Jersey Boys and The Lion King. He is also currently an Associate Professor of Theatre at Drexel University.

The creative team for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill includes scenic design byMichael Schweikardt, costume design by Raquel Barreto, lighting design by Paul Toben, sound design by Nick Kourtides, and music direction by Abdul Hamid Royal.

Learn more about the cast and creative team by visiting ActorsTheatre.org.

This limited engagement runs January 3 – 29, with an official opening on January 5. Actors Theatre is committed to providing an accessible theatergoing experience and offers an open captioned performance on January 14 and an audio described performance onJanuary 15 during the run of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. For more information about our facilities and all services offered, visit ActorsTheatre.org. Tickets are on sale to the public priced from $25 – $85. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Actors Theatre Box Office at 502.584.1205 or online at ActorsTheatre.org. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 502.585.1210.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill is made possible in part by production sponsor Brown-Forman, production underwriter D.D. Williamson & Co., the Kentucky Arts Council, and Fund for the Arts.

by Lanie Robertson
directed by Bill Fennelly
Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 West Main Street, Louisville KY (Bingham Theatre)
Part of the Brown-Forman Series
Production underwritten by D.D. Williamson & Co.

Tickets are on sale priced from $25 – $85.
Special ticket offers for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 502.585.1210. 
Box Office: 502.584.1205

Important Dates

Open Captioned Performance
Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Audio Described Performance
Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Community Conversation: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Cocktail reception from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Discussion immediately following the 8 p.m. performance
The Community Conversation event focuses on exploring important topics in Louisville’s cultural landscape, through the lens of Actors Theatre productions that have similar themes. The post-show discussion will include a dynamic conversation enriched by input from several local leaders representing a range of involvement in the community.

Conversation with the Artists: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Immediately following the 2:30 p.m. performance
Enjoy an engaging post-show chat led by a member of our artistic staff.

For additional event information, and to purchase tickets, visit ActorsTheatre.org or call 502.584.1205.


About Actors Theatre of Louisville
Les Waters, Artistic Director
Kevin E. Moore, Managing Director

Now in its 53rd Season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, is the flagship arts organization in the Louisville community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Kevin E. Moore, Actors Theatre serves to unlock human potential, build community, and enrich quality of life by engaging people in theatre that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.

Actors Theatre presents almost 350 performances annually and delivers a broad range of programming, including classics and contemporary work through the Brown-Forman Series, holiday plays, a series of free theatrical events produced by the Professional Training Company, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays—the premier new play festival in the nation, which has introduced 450 plays into the American theatre repertoire over the past 40 years. In addition, Actors Theatre provides more than 15,000 arts experiences each year to students across the region through its Education Department, and boasts one of the nation’s most prestigious continuing pre-professional resident training companies, now in its 45th year.

Over the past half-century, Actors Theatre has also emerged as one of America’s most consistently innovative professional theatre companies, with an annual attendance of 140,000. Actors Theatre has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre, including a Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre has toured to 29 cities and 15 countries worldwide, totaling more than 1,400 appearances internationally. Currently, there are more than 50 published books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in circulation—including anthologies of Humana Festival plays, volumes of ten-minute plays and monologues, and essays, scripts and lectures from the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Numerous plays first produced at Actors Theatre have also been published as individual acting editions, and have been printed in many other anthologies, magazines and journals—making an enduring contribution to American dramatic literature.