Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill recounts Billie Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous. It’s 1959 and Billie Holiday is performing in a run-down bar during one of the last performances of her lifetime. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and losses.


Ms. Lee’s acting highlights include Carbonell, NAACP, and Barrymore Award winning work at regional theaters across the country including Yale Rep, Baltimore Centerstage, Denver Center, Weston Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Theatre of the Stars, Detroit Public Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, TheatreWorks, Delaware Theatre Co, Westport Playhouse, Geva, Merrimack Rep, Virginia Stage, Ogunquit Playhouse, Great Lakes, Cleveland Playhouse, Cape Playhouse, Forum Theatre Company, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Pittsburgh CLO, Syracuse Stage, InterAct and 40+ other theaters as well as national and international tours. She was original cast of the Off-Broadway hit Sistas; The Musical, which is available on Netflix and the original Off-Broadway cast of the critically raved (and Late Night with Conan O’Brien spoofed) Bedbugs!!! It’s a Musical. She most recently completed Robert Schenkkan’s fiery NNPN rolling world premiere, Building the Wall, in Washington DC. On screen: The Path, SMASH, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Ed, All My Children, Guiding Light and “Best Actress” festival award winning independent film work. Also a playwright, Ms. Lee’s plays have received development or production in New York, Boston and Chicago and she is a current Merit Scholar for her 2018 MFA in Writing For the Stage & Screen at New Hampshire Institute of Art. This marks Ms. Lee’s 4th portrayal of Lady Day… and she is ever grateful for the opportunity to bring Billie to Portland.

Music Director

Gary Mitchell, Jr. regularly collaborates with renowned singers, instrumentalists, and ensembles in repertoire ranging from opera to musical theatre to chamber to classical sacred to gospel. As a concert and recording artist, Gary has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Gary earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Master of Music Education at Jackson State University. He continued intensive studies in collaborative piano performance at the University of Houston in the studio of Timothy Hester. Most recently, Gary returned from touring throughout Tokyo as the newest member of the New York Gospel Brothers where he was the featured pianist and a featured vocalist. Gary also portrayed Jasbo Brown in thirty historic performances of Porgy and Bess at The Royal Danish Opera House in Copenhagen. Additional performance highlights include: Library of Congress; Houston Grand Opera; The Harlem Opera Theatre; NAACP ACT-SO; with select appearances in Spain, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Gary currently serves as Minister of Music at First AME Church: Bethel, in Harlem, New York, where he leads the Chorale and the Men’s Choir. In addition to worship leadership, he conducts sacred masterworks. He has served in the professoriates of Tougaloo College and Texas Southern University, and is an active, composing member of ASCAP. Other affiliations include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc., PHA Aurora Lodge, and The American Guild of Musical Artists.

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Lanie Robertson

Lanie Robertson writes about iconic artists and the societal issues they faced in Nasty Little Secrets, Alfred Stiegletz Loves O’Keeffe, and Woman Before a Glass. His plays have been produced internationally and at the Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Delaware Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Festival d’Avignon, George Street Playhouse, Kennedy Center, Old Globe, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Theatre de la Huchette, Theatre Petite Montparnasse, Theatre Silvia Montforte, Vineyard Theatre, Virginia Stage, Walnut Street Theatre, Westside Arts, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Current plays include nobody Lonesome for Me and The Gardener. Recently he completed his first novel, Monkey to the Solution. He’s a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, East; and the Societe des Auteres et Compositeurs Dramatiques.