About The Show
BILLIE! BACKSTAGE WITH LADY DAY......... written and performed by Synthia L. Hardy and directed by Bryan Rasmussen, is part documentary, part concert and combines story telling and song to capture the essence of Billy Holiday's music and life.
Winner of two NAACP Awards - "Best Solo- Show" and "Best Musical Director".
Billie Back Stage with Lady Day portrays Holiday in the mid -1950s. Hardy starts the play by storming up a side aisle from the lobby muttering a stream of obscenities at those who have wronged her. She then downs two large glasses of vodka before acknowledging the audience who have arrived. It's a bold beginning to a fascinating play.
In the first act, Holiday prepares for a concert she is about to perform while answering the questions of two unseen reporters. Hardy as Holiday entwines her biography and explanations of the inspiration for, and history of her music with performances of her popular numbers.
Legendary piano player Woody Woods joins Hardy on stage as Holiday’s pianist accompanying her through hits including the haunting Strange Fruit, as well as God Bless the Child, Good Morning Heartache, and Lover Man. One of the greatest jazz and blues performers of all time, Holiday unfolds the truth about her turbulent life – combating racism, navigating abusive relationships, and enduring multiple arrests.
In the second act, accompanied by three more musicians, Hardy embodies Lady Day, (a nickname given to Holiday by musician Lester Young), in a concert of her hits that includes ’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, Willow, and Weep for Me.
Through a voice reminiscent of Holiday’s with its raspy edge and incorporation of crying and wailing, Hardy portrays the iconic artist as simultaneously classy and tough, vulnerable and versatile, hopeful at times, and hopeless at others, but most of all, full of heart and sympathy.