I asked my daughter if she knew who Billie Holiday was, and she didn’t have a clue. Not too unusual, I suppose. She’s not one to listen to “old school” jazz, as she’s usually glued to her iPod listening to much more contemporary music. But when I heard the one woman play Billie! Backstage with Lady Day was extended at the Whitefire Theater, I knew I had to take her. I’m so glad I did.
The play was brought to life by Synthia L. Hardy who took on the title role. During the first act you meet her backstage as she reveals her rocky life to a reporter. Her piano man was with her on stage, which seemed symbolic of the music that kept Billie going. Ms. Hardy’s performance was intimate, raw, and courageous.
The second act was all singing. A full jazz band was on stage with her, and the audience was treated to a real concert. The musicians were as much fun to watch as Billie, their music seeping into your soul! Billie’s essence was powerful and moving. Ms. Hardy did an incredible job transporting the audience back into time.
Billie! Backstage with Lady Day is directed by Bryan Rasmussen. This performance wont the NAACP Award for best solo show!
SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 UPDATE: This production is now back at the Whitefire Theater! September 18 – October 30 on Friday nights at 8 pm. A must see!