From the heart of a woman flows her song

Thomasina Petrus as Billie Holiday

Anyone who’s read my blog from the beginning knows that the voice of Thomasina Petrus leaves me breathless, and that I admire her talent and her work ethic as both an actor and a producer. (This view is not at all influenced by the drunken pleasure I derive from her butter-laden home-made cashew brittle.) But of the myriad characters and concerts I’ve seen Thomasina perform, none has touched me more than her title role in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, an end-of-life vignette of jazz singer Billie Holiday, at Park Square Theatre.

I had anticipated a special performance, not because of the profusion of public relations material sent my way, but because I heard Thomasina “try out” this character last year in a show at The Capri Theater. She introduced a Billie Holiday song by saying it was her goal to someday “channel” the troubled and transcendent jazz legend on stage. I recall hearing a distinctly different voice from Thomasina that evening, but it still felt like emulation. In Lady Day, the actor/singer becomes Billie Holiday as she might have appeared at a Philadelphia nightclub four months before her death.  read more »

I (Heart) Hennepin & Lake

What a magical night, for a Tuesday!

If you heard the show on Saturday, you know that I was planning to indulge in some live music tonight (Valentine’s Day), date or no date. When listener Terry came through with an offer to escort me, I decided to take him up on it. The show started at 7:00. Thanks to Google and to studio producer Ann Cole for the screening techniques to ensure that I wouldn’t be ditching a wacko at 7:15.

Terry was, in fact, delightful company and the perfect gentleman. Of course, one couldn’t help behaving respectfully in the soulful presence of Thomasina Petrus, T. Mychael Rambo and Ray Covington, not to mention Thomasina’s mother-in-law’s dangerously delicious chocolate cake, served as we were seated.  read more »

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