By Jack Rico
Back in March, my hands were peeling after applauding thunderously at the news that a Billie Holiday musical was finally coming to Broadway. Now I get word that there is a new opening date set for Thursday, October 3rd (6:30PM) with preview performances slated to begin Thursday, September 19th (8PM).
Lady Day is the name of the new Billie Holiday Broadway musical that will star Tony and Grammy winner Dee Dee Bridgewater in the lead role (you couldn’t ask for any one better outside of a young Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues) and will be presented at the smallest theater on Broadway – the Little Shubert Theatre. The story will tackle Billie’s attempts at a final comeback performance.
Twenty-five classic standards will be performed, including: “Don’t Explain,” “Good Morning Heartache,” “A Foggy Day (In London Town),” “Them There Eyes,” “Strange Fruit,” “My Man,” “God Bless the Child,” and “Mean to Me.”
Holiday had one of the most depressing artistic lives ever, but through it all, her music still lives on. I know of her because she was the most influential singer in Frank Sinatra‘s career. His globally acclaimed singing style on ballads was all influenced by her. If you hear his I’m a Fool to Want You from his Columbia Records days from the late 40’s, you’ll hear Holiday’s stylistic sound in it.
Does Lady Day have Best Musical nomination at the Tony’s 2014 written all over it? If you think so, leave all your impassioned thoughts in the comments section below.