Former Vineyard Theatre managing director Jeffrey Solis will remount Lanie Robertson's 1986 play, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill in January at an undisclosed theatre, production sources report. The producer is seeking Tony-nominated actress Pamela Isaacs (HBO's "Oz") for the lead role.
Robertson's play takes place during Billie Holiday's "last appearance at the famed Philadelphia jazz bar just several weeks before her death." Robertson wrote the Off-Broadway play Nasty Little Secrets, which has been presented twice at Primary Stages.
Scheduled for an Off-Broadway run at an unnamed theatre, Lady Day features Holliday standards including "What A Little Moonlight Can Do," "Crazy He Calls Me, " Them There Eyes," "God Bless the Child" and "Strange Fruit," among others.
Director David Esbjornson, a veteran of Paper Mill Playhouse, Public Theatre and Classic Stage Company productions, will helm the project.
Isaacs was nominated for a Tony for her role in the Broadway musical The Life.
In addition to his work at Vineyard, producer Solis has worked as associate producer on The Life and as a producing associate at Producer Circle. In April 1986, Reenie Upchurch played the title role at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. In June of that year, Lonette McKee played the part in the Vineyard Theatre production.
-- By Murdoch McBride