I caught up with director N.C. Heikin to ask her what inspired her to want to bring to life the "reality" of Frank Morgan's life and she graciously took the time to give me some insight into her journey.
Call her crazy, but my mom says that the second I heard the opening notes of Billie's recording, I leapt over the walls of my crib, landed squarely on the piano bench and welcomed my new sister into the world by playing along and harmonizing with every line.
Audra McDonald? Playing the role of Billie Holiday? Like the rest of the theater world, that struck me as the most bizarre, unlikely casting I'd heard of since Bernadette Peters was playing Annie Oakley.
At a time when "downtown" white venues were off limits to blacks, the Apollo certified success for African-American performers. And it has been at the forefront of the latest trends in the black community.
Despite glowing reviews from its out of town tryout, a stellar cast and a great play, I was not transported by the performance I caught of The Glass Menagerie. I blame the New York Yankees and the raves.
Part memoir, part concert, Lady Day captures jazz great Billie Holiday. Thanks to the amazing Dee Dee Bridgewater, who channels Holiday's unique phrasing and intonation, audiences meet the singer in London in 1954, as she ends her European concert tour.