Trustus Company Member Katrina Garvin takes star turn as Billie Holiday in new production
Trustus Theatre is re-opening “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” for a three-week run in June. The production was originally slated to open in January 2021 but was postponed before opening weekend due to rising COVID cases and lack of vaccination. With new safety guidelines in place, Trustus will bring Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill to the theatre’s Main Stage in-the-round for three weekends with socially distanced seating at half capacity. This 90-minute long musical brings audiences into the room with jazz legend Billie Holiday, as she performs one of her last concerts. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill stars Trustus Company Member Katrina Garvin as Billie Holiday with local jazz musician Shannon Pinkney as pianist Jimmy Powers. The show opens June 4th at 8:00pm, and runs through June 20th. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org, or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
When audiences take their seats for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, they’ll be transported to South Philly, where they’ll be entering the world of late night music, smoky bars, blues, jazz, and Billie Holiday. Lady Day (Katrina Garvin) takes the stage with her trusted pianist, Jimmy Powers (Shannon Pinkney), and shares her music and her story with one of the last audiences she will entertain before her death four months later. Featuring over a dozen tunes from Holiday’s unforgettable catalogue, this Trustus production will provide an intimate, moving, and engaging evening with one of America’s most iconic artists.
Trustus Company Member Katrina Garvin has been working tirelessly with the production’s director, Jocelyn Sanders, to create a nuanced and meaningful experience at Trustus. “Billie is a real woman,” begins Garvin. “A real Black woman! The stories she tells, although tragic, mirror the things we all go through in life. Love, loss, lust, and laughter weave in and out of the performance. It triggers memories of struggles and triumphs I have experienced in my own life. The memories that Billie shares about her experiences of racism and discrimination in America still resonate today. It proves that we still have much to overcome. She also shares memories of foolish love. You know, the kind of love that you know is bad for you but you don’t care because it feeds something on the inside of you that you just can’t explain? It is very cathartic speaking and hearing these stories.” Garvin expects this catharsis will extend to audiences who experience the piece.
Trustus Company Emeritus, Jocelyn Sanders, returns to Trustus as the Director of Lady Day. “What appealed to me most about this production as a theatre artist was the subject matter. Billie Holiday has always been one of my favorite jazz singers,” said Sanders. “Katrina and I have spoken during rehearsals about how so many of the things experienced by Billie Holiday at that time as a Black, female artist are still very much an issue for many Black, female artists today.” Sanders believes that audiences from various generations will resonate with Billie’s story, and see contemporary issues mirrored in the 1950s world of the play.
For audiences, Trustus’ Safety Guidelines stipulate that masks are required, mandatory temperature will be administered prior to entry, sanitization stations will be readily available, and the indoor air is being purified by Global Plasma Solutions systems – an air ionization system that has demonstrated a 99.4% reduction rate on a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) surface strain within 30 minutes, the first instance in which an air purification company has effectively neutralized SARS-CoV-2. For more info on Trustus’ Safety Guidelines, please visit: https://trustus.org/safety-guidelines/
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill comes to Trustus Theatre Friday June 4th, 2021 at 8:00pm. The show runs Thursday through Sunday for three weekends, with the closing performance on June 20th. The Box Office and bar open one hour prior to show time, and patrons are encouraged to arrive early to allow for safe seating procedures.
Reservations are recommended due to limited capacity and can be made at www.trustus.org or by calling the Trustus Box Office at (803) 254-9732.