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Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Presented by

State Theatre Company, South Australia

Event details


  • 2 September 2023, 14:00
    • Wheelchair Accessibility
    • Audio Description
    • Companion Card Affiliate
  • 4 September 2023, 18:30
    • Wheelchair Accessibility
    • Audio Description
    • Companion Card Affiliate


Space Theatre


1 hour 30 minutes (no interval)


49 - $85

Event description

It’s 1959. In a small bar in Philadelphia that’s seen better days, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time, Billie Holiday walks onstage. Unbeknownst to her audience, it will be one of her last performances. The jazz trio start to play, her incomparable voice fills the room. The songs flow – Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Strange Fruit, Don’t Explain, God Bless the Child – but so do the stories. Tales of her youth and her heroes – of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and her beloved mother, the Duchess. Hard times, happy times. Love, oppression, addiction but survival, courage and grace. And to the music she keeps returning: “Singin’ is livin’ to me”. With signature charm and wit, she laughs more than she cries, as she tells us how she came to be known as the great Lady Day.

It takes an extraordinary talent to capture another extraordinary talent and in Zahra Newman, audiences will find just that.

After delighting audiences in leading roles onstage in shows like The Book of Mormon and A Raisin in the Sun and on-screen in Wentworth, Neighbours and Rosehaven, Newman’s talent and musical mastery takes full flight in a show the New York Daily News calls “a spell-binding tour-de-force – captivating, surprising and satisfying”.

“Turns jazz songs and standards into searching, and searing, portraits of life and love gone wrong that cast a shimmering spell.” New York Times

“It’s stunning, it’s heartbreaking. The anguish and fury in it is heart stopping.” Huffington Post

“A legend is forever, and if Lady Day doesn’t bring its subject back, it does justice to her enduring spirit.” USA Today

Zahra as Billie is guaranteed to be one of the performances of the century. I have always loved both the beauty and melancholy of Billie Holiday’s golden voice and artistry. I have likewise always been in awe of Zahra’s great charisma and skill. And when Zahra sings, like Billie, she reaches to the centre of the earth and up to the heavens. You’ll be in heaven in this cabaret club that we will create in the Space Theatre. Book early to get a table onstage. You’ll never want to leave. Mitchell

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