Thursday, February 2

Storm-damaged Florida Rep is back on stage in temporary venue

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Florida Repertory Theatre’s production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson, will be moved to a temporary venue due to facilities damage caused by Hurricane Ian.

The production will be remounted in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. Performances resume on Friday, Oct. 14 and run through Oct. 29.  Tickets are $63 and may be purchased at Florida Rep by visiting www.floridarep.org or by calling 239-332-4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.

“We wish to thank Bill Taylor, producing artistic director at Theatre Conspiracy, and Molly Deckart, executive director of the Alliance for the Arts, for opening their doors to host Florida Rep after our facilities were flooded,” said Florida Rep’s producing artistic director Greg Longenhagen. “We look forward to returning to the stage to offer our community an entertaining distraction as we all move forward on the path to recovery.”

The production originally opened on September 23 in Florida Rep’s ArtStage Studio Theatre. It was the first in the company’s 25th Anniversary Season line-up. “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” takes a biographical look at the life and music of jazz legend, Billie Holiday. The hard-hitting musical takes place in a seedy Philadelphia club where Holiday gave one of her final public performances.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill stars Philadelphia-based actors Ebony Pullum as Billie Holiday and Garrick Vaughan as Jimmy Powers, her friend and piano player. Ms. Pullum is a veteran of the Philadelphia stage and makes her Florida Rep debut after a recent appearance as Billie Holiday with the Curio Theatre. Mr. Vaughan is an accomplished actor-musician who returns to Florida Rep after appearing in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” last spring.

The production features a live band. Mr. Vaughan plays piano and is joined by Matt Koller on drums and Perry Orfanella on bass. Koller and Orfanella return to the Florida Rep after playing in last season’s opener, “Let’s Fall in Love.”

The production is directed by Ansley Valentine, a veteran of the regional stage, making his Florida Rep debut. Mr. Valentine’s credits include Cleveland Play House, Indiana Rep, Studio Arena, and others. He is a company member at Fonseca Theatre in Indianapolis and Actors’ Reading Collective in the San Francisco Bay Area. He now heads the graduate directing program at Indiana University-Bloomington.

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