HBO has taken the wraps off plans for a special featuring six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald in performance as Billie Holiday in the smash Broadway production “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”
The special, filmed before a live audience at Cafe Brasil in New Orleans, is set to premiere Saturday, March 12, on the pay-cable channel.
TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross wrote about McDonald’s Broadway performance as Holiday in 2014, and you can read his in-depth piece by clicking here.
In its announcement, HBO notes: “Originally written for off-Broadway by Lanie Roberston in 1987, ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill’ tells Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous, including ‘God Bless the Child,’ ‘What a Little Moonlight Can Do,’ ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.'”
In addition to her Tony for “Lady Day,” McDonald has won Tony Awards for “Carousel,” “Master Class,” “Ragtime,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” She has also won two Grammy Awards and an Emmy, and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2015.
“McDonald made history and became Broadway’s most decorated performer when she won her sixth Tony Award, for ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,’ in 2014,” HBO notes in its announcement. “In addition to setting the record for most competitive wins by an actor, she also became the first person to receive awards in all four acting categories. The show’s run at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway was extended four times due to high demand.”