Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill Brings Billie Holiday to Queen Street

The Footlight Players kicks off their 87th season this August with the Tony Award-winning Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Charleston’s own, Nakeisha Daniel takes on the role of Billie Holiday in one of the last performances of Holiday’s career, which takes place at the dive-club Emerson’s Bar and Grill. During her concert, Holiday recounts the events of her life and career, high and low, leading up to her untimely death at age 44.

Charleston based equity actress Nakeisha Daniel takes on the iconic role of Billie Holiday in Footlight’s first show of the season. Nakeisha is originally from Atlanta, GA with regional credits that include: Much Ado about Nothing (Warehouse Theatre); Run Around Sue, Love Potion No. 9 (34 West), Race (Ocean State Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird, Scapin (Utah Shakespeare Fest.); Sunjata Kamalenya (McCarter Theatre Center); Romeo & Juliet, Two Gentleman of Verona the Musical (The Nebraska Shakespeare Festival); Ain’t Misbehavin’, (Arizona Broadway Theatre); Disney’s Aladdin Jr. (Alliance Theatre Company); Ragtime (Charleston Stage Company).

Nakeisha Daniel as Billie ‘Lady Day’ Holiday

Nakeisha is a recipient of the 2018 Eugene O’Neill Cabaret and Performance Fellowship and was honored to serve as the first ever “Guest Artist in Residence” at the Citadel.

Daniel will be sharing the stage with pianist Tyler Sim, a recent graduate of College of Charleston’s Arts Management program, making his Charleston theatre debut. They will both be working under the direction of Kyle Barnette, who made his Footlight directorial debut during Piccolo Spoleto with Dirty Blonde. Barnette is the Founding Artistic Director of Charleston’s What If? Productions with regional directorial credits including Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret, and Evil Dead: The Musical. ‘

Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday’s songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday’s poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time.

This one-of-a-kind show is a no-holds-barred, first person account of the turbulent and fascinating career of the legendary Lady Day. From her struggles with addiction and encounters with racism to her illustrious glory days and unique role as a trailblazing female black entertainer in a mostly white male dominated music industry, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill features some of Holiday’s biggest hits including, “God Bless the Child”, “Strange Fruit”, and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” performed live on stage at the Footlight Players Theatre.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill performance dates: Aug.17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 & Sept. 1 at 7:30pm and Aug. 19, 26 & Sept. 2 at 3:00pm at Footlight Players, 20 Queen Street. Tickets and show info at

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