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Dee Dee Bridgewater Returns to Broadway to Play ‘Lady Day’

bridgewaterDee Dee Bridgewater might have been a Broadway star, were she not so successful as a jazz singer. She won a Tony Award in her Broadway debut as Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wiz,” but later rededicated herself to her jazz career; touring the world; winning three Grammy Awards; and hosting NPR’s nationally syndicated “Jazz Set.

Now the 63-year-old Bridgewater has put her jazz career on hold, to return to the New York stage for the first time since 1979 in the off-Broadway musical, “Lady Day,” about legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. The role not only involves more than 25 musical production numbers but also 16 monologues, or ‘regressions,’ that look at the brilliant singer’s troubled life.

“It’s just a very difficult and demanding role,” said Bridgewater. “You have to call on so many different emotions and different periods in her life: you have to play a 10-year-old girl, a young Billie and then your present Billie,” said Bridgewater, interviewed at Sardi’s restaurant in the theater district.

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