Performance Picks

Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill

Lanie Richardson's script imagines a drunk, distracted Billie Holiday (Felicia V. Loud, pictured) wading through a particularly revealing late-career set at a modest Philadelphia jazz club, and it's alive with the notion that it was only song that propped the singer up when she could barely stand. Yes, director Jacqueline Moscou doesn't push Loud far enough into the kind of stinging bitterness that would explain why Holiday is conveniently sharing her life's story with us, and the Langston Hughes auditorium all but squashes the intimacy so necessary to the show's central conceit. Whatever: Loud captures the essence of the legend without resorting to robotic mimicry. She has much of Holiday's cracked, cat-like warmth, and lovingly suggests the artist's losing but valiant musical defense against melancholy. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 206-684-4757. $5-$18. 7 p.m. Sun. and Thurs.; 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun. matinee. Ends Sun. April 18. STEVE WIECKING

Mark Salman

No one did more to extend piano technique—the sounds it can make, and the ways pianists can make them—than Franz Liszt (1811-1886). His visionary music is a bridge from the sound-world of Beethoven and Schubert to Debussy, Ravel, and beyond (one of his late pieces is a Bagatelle without Tonality). Liszt's influence was even sociological: Idolized with pop star fervor (fans fought over his cigar butts), he helped take music once and for all out of the dwellings of the ruling class, making the public concert the center of musical performance. On Friday, Mark Salman begins an eight-recital series of Liszt's music, opening with the reflective Years of Pilgrimage and climaxing in May 2005 with Liszt's thunder-and-lightning transcription of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave. N.E., 206-522-0169. $10-$20 ($130 for all eight recitals). 7:30 p.m. Fri. April 16. GAVIN BORCHERT

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