Jamaica Plain Resident Directing ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’ at New Repertory Theatre

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Jamaica Plain resident Summer L. Williams is set to direct New Repertory Theatre's upcoming production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.


Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill is a biographical play with iconic music by Lanie Robertson. The show runs from March 28 through April 19, 2020.

It’s 1959 in a bar in South Philadelphia for one of Billie Holiday’s final performances before her untimely death. At an intimate evening with Billie and her pianist, Holiday’s most famous songs are interlaced with reminiscences from her life, told with her unique, salty humor. Featuring What a Little Moonlight Can Do and Strange Fruit, this biographical play with music by Lanie Robertson tells the incredible story of an icon who consistently battled racism, abuse, and addiction for her chance to sing.

Williams is an instructor of theater specializing in directing, and one of the founders of Company One Theatre, as well as an active member of its board of directors. Her recent professional directing credits include Bootycandy at the SpeakEasy Stage Company, An Octoroon and We Are Proud to Present... at Company One/ArtsEmerson, Intimate Apparel at Lyric Stage, and with Company One, Colossal, The Brother/Sister Plays, and Voyeurs de Venus, which was Elliot Norton nominated.

In 2009, Williams won the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director. Other regional credits include The Good Negro, The Bluest Eye (IRNE and Elliot Norton award nominated), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Spell #7 (IRNE nominated), Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (2004 Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production), and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (IRNE nominated).

Williams has also directed for BU's Playwrights' Theatre, Brandeis University, Clark University, the Theater Offensive, and Huntington Theatre Company. Williams is a teacher of drama and a director at Brookline High School and holds a B.A. in Theater and an M.A.Ed. in Urban education. She serves as a member of the board of directors of both StageSource and the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

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