Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Thu 19th October, 2023 – Sat 2nd December, 2023
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Southbank, VIC 3006
Price: $29–$122 + booking fee
Enter the world of American jazz icon Billie Holiday in this Tony Award-winning production, as the iconic singer prepares for one of her final shows.

It’s springtime in South Philadelphia in 1959, and inching towards midnight. Inside a small, run-down bar called Emerson’s Bar and Grill, the inimitable Billie Holiday – known to many as Lady Day – steps into the spotlight for what would ultimately be one of her final shows.

Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill is a Tony Award-winning production that follows the final moments of one of the world’s most respected voices. Presented by Melbourne Theatre Company from Thursday October 19 until Saturday December 2, it’s not only a showcase of acting and vocal mastery, but also a tender insight into the inner world of the iconic singer.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio transforms into a cabaret bar with Zahra Newman (Miss Julie) in the titular role of Lady Day, accompanied by a jazz trio. Through song and spoken word, she shares anecdotes about her life and struggles with addiction and ill health, through unforgettable numbers like God Bless the Child, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Somebody’s on My Mind and Strange Fruit.

Co-produced by State Theatre Company South Australia and Belvoir St Theatre, Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill is directed by State Theatre Company South Australia artistic director Mitchell Butel, who holds four Helpmann Awards, four Sydney Theatre Awards and two Victorian Green Room Awards for his work in Australian theatre spanning three decades.

Tickets are on sale now, tickets are on sale now, with special concession prices for under-30s. On October 20 and November 6, there is a panel discussion with the cast and creative team.

Audio-described sessions, tactile tours, open-captioning and Auslan-interpreted performances are available on select dates.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Melbourne Theatre Company.