Audra McDonald to Make West End Debut in Lady Day | Playbill

News Audra McDonald to Make West End Debut in Lady Day Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is to reprise the most recent of those Tony-winning performances when she makes her dramatic stage debut in the West End this summer: She will star as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, beginning performances June 25 prior to an official opening July 5 at Wyndham's Theatre, for a run through Sept. 3.

McDonald is, of course, also about to star in the Broadway premiere of Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, but as previously announced is to take a three-month hiatus and will be out of that show June 21-Sept. 25 inclusive. She will return to Shuffle Along Sept. 27, and is currently contracted through June 11, 2017.

PHOTO RECAP: Audra McDonald Is Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

The production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill that she brings to London was first produced at Broadway's Circle in the Square in 2014, where it opened April 13, 2014, and ran for a total of 173 performances and 20 previews. Written by Lanie Robertson and directed by Lonny Price, the show recounts Holiday's comparatively short and turbulent life story (she died aged just 44) 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."

McDonald has previously appeared in London in concert at the Donmar Warehouse in 1999, and is about to do two concerts at the Leicester Square Theatre Jan. 17. She has also appeared in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, including a concert staging of Wonderful Town in 1999 and The Last Night of the Proms in 2002. She has won Tony Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill in 2014, for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess in 2012, for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Master Class in 1996 and A Raisin in the Sun in 2004, and for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Ragtime in 1998 and Carousel in 1994. She has in addition been nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for Marie Christine in 2000 and 110 in the Shade in 2007.

McDonald has also appeared in opera at Houston Grand Opera and Los Angeles Opera, and on television in ABC's "Private Practice," "The Good Wife" and as Mother Abbess in NBC's The Sound of Music Live. She has released five solo albums for Nonesuch Records.

Director Lonny Price previously worked with McDonald on 110 in the Shade and on an Emmy Award-winning concert staging of Passion that also featured Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris. Other Broadway directorial credits include working with Joan Rivers on Sally Marr… and her Escorts and Danny Glover in Master Harold… and the Boys and the musicals A Class Act and Urban Cowboy. He has also directed stage and TV versions of Company and Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic, the latter of which won him an Emmy, as did his directing of Sondheim: The Birthday Concert! in 2010. As an actor, he appeared on and Off-Broadway, including the original Broadway production of Merrily We Roll Along. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 5120, or visit

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