|"Billie," written and directed by Roz Nixon,
with Madame Pat Tandy in the title role, takes a heart and soul swing
tour through the musical life of jazz singer Billie Holiday, using
20 songs, lots of funny anecdotes, and the telling of legendary as
well as obscurely known facts about this unique torch singer.
"Billie" is set on an elegant nightclub stage. As Ms.
Tandy testifies through song and verse her great love and admiration
for Lady Day, she riffs Jazz, touts the Blues, and shares her most
inspired Billie Holiday experiences. "Billie"
features song after song that highlights a pivotal turn in the life
of Lady Day. Histories are revealed which help the audience understand
the complexity of the first female recipient of the Esquire All American
Jazz Award of 1943. Music includes twenty five songs, ten swingin'
tunes, six ballads one medley. There are three male band members.
In 1997, playwright/director Roz Nixon made her her La MaMa debut
during Black History Month with "Nothin' but the Blues," a
four-character play that was a swing tour through that era with a
fictional black woman singer named Big Mae Parker. Ms. Nixon is an
African-American writer and native New Yorker. She has written a
children's book, "Singin' Big Mae's Blues," and five plays,
one of which was the story of Motown's Marvelettes. She is also an
historian of early period female blues musicians. In the spring of
2000 Ms. Nixon's musical production,
"Dedicated to Louis Armstrong," premiered in the Bell Atlantic
Jazz Festival and is, to date, the first and only theatrical performance
ever presented in a major Jazz Festival. The show was subsequently
featured in the New York Family Arts Festival, presented at Riverside
Church in New York City. Nixon's productions also include "Great
Women of Gospel, Blues and Jazz: A Month Long Festival" (2001), "Great
Women of Music" at the B.B. King Club (2000), "Ashley Stewart
presents Nine days of Gospel, Blues and Jazz"
(1999) and "Too Much Blues Wednesdays" at Borders Books
and Music (1999). She has coordinated corporate events as well as
obtained corporate support and sponsorship for various musical series