HBO has released a first teaser trailer for Audra McDonald‘s Tony Award-winning portrayal of Billie Holiday in the hit Broadway play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which will debut on Saturday, March 12, 2016.
The production tells Holiday’s life story 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.”
It takes place in South Philadelphia in March 1959 in a run-down bar, during one of Holiday’s last performances before her death in July 1959. She sings, accompanied by Jimmy Powers (Shelton Becton) on the piano, and also tells stories about her life.
McDonald’s 2014 portrayal earned her a sixth Tony Award, making her Broadway’s most decorated performer. In addition to setting the record for most competitive wins by an actor, she also became the first person to receive awards in all four acting categories.
The show’s run at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway was extended four times due to high demand. It will head to London’s Wyndham’s Theatre in June 2016.
Originally written for off-Broadway by Lanie Roberston in 1986, it was originally produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jessica Genick and Will Trice. Lonette McKee starred as Holiday and was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
The special — filmed before a live audience at Cafe Brasil in New Orleans — was directed by Lonny Price, who also directed the Broadway production, and produced by Allen Newman and Two Hands Entertainment. It will also be available on HBO NOW and HBO GO.