Thomasina Petrus manages to combine a world-class set of pipes with a warm, inviting stage presence, so she offers up a complex and appealing portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. The action takes place in a south Philadelphia bar, where the jazz singer gives one of her final performances before her premature death in 1959. Billie (Petrus) sings some of her greatest, including "God Bless the Child," "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do," and the ever-haunting, impossibly deep "Strange Fruit." Along the way she recounts her life, from humble beginnings performing menial labor, to stardom, and drug addiction. Billie Holiday was one of the greatest singers America ever knew, and Petrus is up to the task of memorializing her while bringing her, briefly, back to life.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 18. Continues through May 4, 2008