Off Broadway Musical Review: Lady Day

Before I jump into what is going to be a poor review of Lady Day, I also recently saw King Richard the Third, by the all-male Shakespeare's production group from London on Broadway. Though I slept through the first act, it was not because it wasn't a great production. It was just that I was tired. Please see it if you can, Mark Rylance as Richard is exceptionally hilarious.

Now to Lady Day. I have such a good story surrounding my getting to this performance but I will spare you. Dee Dee Bridgewater is singing her heart out at Little Shubert Theater as Billie Holiday. Because I was late, I got the front seat, so I didn't miss much except the first 8 mins.

I was hoping that there will be some acting and not only singing but by the end of the first act, I was sorry to have gotten my wish. I could not wrap my mind around how incredibly sad Bridgewater looked during the entire performance. It is clear that Lady Day had gone through a lot: from sexual abuse to parental neglect, to racism, drugs, alcohol, you name it. It makes sense for one with such an immense load of bad events to look extremely unhappy, yet, I can't believe she was always that unhappy.

There is a play on time and it elapses really quickly between the present and the past: in one moment Lady Day goes from being a matured woman to a child, then back. Though I loved her singing I wasn't convinced by her acting. However, the tickets are not bad and I hear the performance got a stack load of great reviews, so perhaps it's just me. And seriously, I would see it again, if I could; just for the music.

-J

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