For those who don’t know Billie Holiday, or only heard her in the background, here is a rare chance to hear her songs performed with the same emotion that made her a legend in the few short years of her life. This is not a slick production, but a small stage in the heart of Leimert Park, in a way the essence of how Billie Holiday came up in the Harlem of the 1930s. She was not musically educated, her range was limited and years of abuse made her voice fragile, but by using jazz improvisation Holiday became one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. Sybil Harris captures this perfectly; she inserts some short vignettes of the tragedy of Holiday’s life, but truly what wi capture you is the emotional feeling of Holiday’s performances, which Harris knows so well.
Billie Holiday: Front and Center, written and performed by Sybil Harris, will be at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center starting Friday, November 10, 2017. Show times are 3:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 2 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, December 3 at 3:00 p.m. $30 general, $25 seniors (65+). The closing performance on December 3 will be a benefit for Bridge to Africa Connection honoring Ms. Dawn Sutherland. Tickets for the December 3 benefit will be $75 general admission and $150 V.I.P. Get your tickets here.