LADY DAY Press Release

Lady Day PR

Apr 18, 2022 | Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

Farmers Alley Theatre brings the music & story of the legendary Billie Holiday to the stage as part of the Gilmore Piano Festival with 


And the bar is open!


(Kalamazoo, MI)  After more than two years of anticipation, Farmers Alley Theatre is proud to present the Tony-Award-winning musical play, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, written by Lanie Robertson.  We are once again thrilled to be partnering with the Gilmore Piano Festival (Liberace!, Murder for Two, Old Wicked Songs) to produce this powerful show featuring the life and work of Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday.  Running April 29-May 15, in conjunction with the Festival, our intimate black box will be transformed. Audiences will feel like they’ve taken a step back in time to a 50’s jazz club in Pennsylvania – complete with the return of our lobby bar!


“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill might be our most anticipated production of all-time, considering we had planned to produce it in the spring of 2020, right after the start of the pandemic,” states Managing Artistic Director Jeremy Koch.  “Luckily, with the light and of the tunnel shining and our magnificently talented artists still in place, we’re able to bring Billie Holiday’s story to our audience.  And we’re so grateful to once again collaborate with the world-renowned Gilmore Piano Festival.  It just goes to show how important and vibrant the Arts are here in West Michigan.”


Portraying “Lady Day” will be renowned Chicago Artist Alexis J Roston.  Time Out Chicago called her ”phenomenal” and Showbiz Chicago raves, “Roston holds the audience in the palm of her hand,” as she will be reprising her Joseph Jefferson Award – Chicago’s Tony Award, The Black Theatre Alliance Award, and Black Excellence Award-winning performance as Billie Holiday.  Malkia Stampley, producer at the famed Goodman Theatre in Chicago, will serve as the production’s Director.  Abdul Hamid Royal, another award-winning artist and Broadway veteran, will serve as the production’s Music Director and portray Lady Day’s pianist, Jimmy.  


The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.  Called “original and riveting” by The London Times, you’ll get know Lady Day like never before in this play which OnStage lauded as, “A searing portrait of a woman whose art was triumphant.”


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill runs for three weekends from April 29-May 15.  Tickets are $44 on Fri/Sat/Sun and $39 on Thursdays.  Student ticket pricing is $15 for all shows.  Tickets are available for purchase at or by calling the Box Office at (269) 343-2727.

Per Farmers Alley Theatre’s COVID-19 Safety plan, all of our artists, designers, and staff are fully vaccinated. We require that patrons of Farmers Alley Theatre show proof of vaccination when attending a performance. All patrons must also always wear a mask when inside Farmers Alley Theatre, per CDC recommendations regarding indoor gatherings. Masks may be pulled down in the lobby when attending our bar.  All COVID, mask, and safety regulations will be continually monitored and are subject to change due to the advice of health experts and the State of Michigan. 


Lady Day is sponsored by First National Bank of Michigan, Maestro, Jack & Andy Hopkins, Carol & Tom Beech, Jerrold T. French, Helen Osterwald, and Carolyn & Sidney Williams.




Farmers Alley Theatre has flourished under the leadership of its co-founders Adam Weiner, Robert Weiner, Jeremy Koch, and Denene Mulay Koch. It has become one of Michigan’s premier arts organizations, known for producing exciting and innovative work of the highest quality. Celebrated for its eclectic programming of both contemporary and classic productions, the theatre is the recipient of 18 Wilde Awards – Michigan’s equivalent of The Tony Awards for professional theatre in the state. 


The theatre survived a tumultuous eighteen months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but never lost touch with its patrons and fans by pivoting to outdoor and digital programming in partnership with Broadway On Demand, delivering entertaining and innovative content to audiences across the country. 


Farmers Alley Theatre joyfully returned to live performances in their downtown Kalamazoo theatre in October of 2021 thanks to the generosity of its patrons, donors, sponsors as well as local and national grants to assist in its recovery.


Farmers Alley Theatre will continue to be passionately dedicated to its mission to create the highest quality professional productions that entertain while inspiring, educating, and communicating with audiences to reflect on the diverse human experience.


Farmers Alley Theatre

The joy of live theatre. Together.