Thursday, July 24, 2014

'Lady Day' B'way Cast Album Debuts At #1

PS Classics' Original Broadway Cast Recording of Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill topped four of the Billboard Charts in its first week of release: #1 in Cast Albums, #1 in Jazz, #1 in Traditional Jazz and #1 in Heatseekers. According to Billboard, the album is McDonald's highest-charting solo release ever.

In its first week of release, the album has already attracted a slew of rave reviews from the press: New York Magazine cheered, "It would have been enough to record for history Audra McDonald’s profane, repellent, hilarious, heartbreaking (and Tony-winning) inhabitation of Billie Holiday. But this 85-minute, two-disc live rendition of the event in many ways improves on the stage experience, as everything extraneous to the central performance melts into audience hum." Entertainment Weekly echoed, "It’s the performance everyone’s been talking about: six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald's latest star turn. It’s a fully transportative experience for the audience, whose reactions help create the illusion carried by McDonald’s performance. The two-disc set offers an immersive translation of the show, a feat not reflected in several of this season’s recent cast albums." 

And The New York Times cheered, "Onstage and in this two-disc cast album, Ms. McDonald 'becomes' Billie Holiday. Her performance transcends impersonation to become an indelible rite of spiritual communion between two great artists." 

Recorded live at Circle in the Square Theatre during performances in late May of 2014, the album was produced by label co-founder Tommy Krasker and staff engineer Bart Migal.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which earned Audra McDonald an unprecedented sixth Tony Award, stars McDonald as Billie Holiday in an intimate concert performance filled with personal revelations and extraordinary renditions of some of Holiday's most glorious songs, including "God Bless the Child," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Strange Fruit." 

The production, directed by Lonny Price and produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jessica Genick, and Will Trice, who are joined by Ronald Frankel, Rebecca Gold, Roger Berlind, Ken Greiner, Gabrielle Palitz, Irene Gandy and GFour Productions, opened on Broadway on April 13, 2014.

Founded by Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin, and an eight-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music, Sondheim on Sondheim, Follies and Porgy and Bess), PS Classics' catalog includes award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Victoria Clark, Maureen McGovern, Kate Baldwin, Steven Pasquale and Liz Callaway; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Bye and Bye, Kitty's Kisses and Sweet Little Devil. 

Recent releases include the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Violet, the Original Cast Recording of Fun Home, Philip Chaffin’s Somethin’ Real Special (The Songs of Dorothy Fields), Judy Kuhn's All This Happiness, the 2013 New York Cast Recording of Passion, and the premiere recording of Maury Yeston’s Tom Sawyer (A Ballet in Three Acts). Visit

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