First listen: Audra McDonald channels Billie Holiday in Broadway's 'Lady Day'

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Image Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

It’s the performance everyone’s been talking about: Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald set a Tony record with her latest star turn, playing troubled blues singer Billie Holiday in the final months of her life in the Broadway play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

Set in a seedy bar in the late ’50s, McDonald plays the jazz legend in one of her final performances. It’s a fully transportative experience for the audience, whose reactions help create the illusion carried by McDonald’s performance. To reflect that experience, Lady Day’s new original Broadway cast album was recorded live during performances of the show in late May.

The two-disc set offers an immersive translation of the show, a feat not reflected in several of this season’s recent cast albums. Lady Day’s cast recording (by PS Classics) will be available digitally and in stores on July 15, but Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive first listen to four of the tracks from the show, offering recognizable Holiday songs and a sample of the stories McDonald shares during the performance.

Lady Day recently extended its limited run at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, where it will now play through September 21.

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