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Audra McDonald to play Billie Holiday on Broadway

Audra McDonald, who has won five Tony Awards, will return to Broadway this spring to play Billie Holiday in a production of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," a musical that features songs made famous by the late jazz star.

The musical was first performed off-Broadway in 1986. The new production with McDonald is scheduled to begin preview performances in New York at the Circle in the Square Theatre on March 25, with an official opening on April 13.

"Lady Day" follows Holiday as she tries to make it through a concert despite health problems. (In real life, the singer was a heroin addict and alcoholic.) The theater, which has an in-the-round seating arrangement, will be transformed into a club setting.

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Lonny Price, who directed McDonald in "110 in the Shade," will stage the musical. The production will mark McDonald's return to Broadway following her 2012 Tony-winning performance in "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess." 

Los Angeles audiences recently got a chance to watch McDonald perform at an L.A. Opera concert in October at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. In December, she appeared in NBC's live broadcast of "The Sound of Music," in which she played the Mother Superior.

"Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" is scheduled to run through June 1.

Another Billie Holiday musical titled "Lady Day" recently ran off-Broadway at the Little Shubert Theatre in New York. The production, which is different from "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," starred jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater in the role of Holiday.

ALSO:

Review: Audra McDonald taps the soul of songs in concert

Audra McDonald weds fellow musical theater star Will Swenson

Audra McDonald lashes out on Twitter at noisy audience member 

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