Rain is just supreme in gritty story

PUBLISHED: 12:44 10 May 2007 | UPDATED: 15:06 12 May 2010

Rain Pryor

Rain Pryor

AFTER playing to packed theatre houses throughout Europe, the powerful The Billie Holiday Story is making its way to the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage this month. The dynamic play is a gritty, no-holds barred, musical portrayal of one of jazz s great

AFTER playing to packed theatre houses throughout Europe, the powerful The Billie Holiday Story is making its way to the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage this month.

The dynamic play is a gritty, no-holds barred, musical portrayal of one of jazz's greatest performers - Billie Holiday - and follows her life from the back streets of Baltimore to the colourful New York City jazz scene.

Playing the charismatic singer is 38-year-old, California born Rain Pryor, who is the daughter of one of America's greatest, and in many people's eyes the greatest, comedians of the 20th century - Richard Pryor.

Alongside Rain, who has received glowing reports, and playing the role of Paul Robeson, is the familiar face of former Brookside favourite Louis Emerick.

Focusing on Billie's turbulent life and her struggle to cope with poverty, violence, racism, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a painful childhood, The Billie Holiday Story is one of escape and extremes.

When stripped of her Hollywood tinsel, the audience is shown and gets to know who Billie really was.

Not only was she a cultural icon, but through her songs, she was also a beacon of hope to millions.

Her tragic and tempestuous story is also brought to life by a talented cast of West-End performers, who incorporate dramatic scenes and 22 classic hits, including God Bless The Child and Strange Fruit.

The show also uses cutting-edge multimedia techniques, mixing film and theatre, and recreates the atmosphere of the 30s and 40s jazz era through its big band sound and footage of the Jiving Lindy Hoppers.

The show has received standing ovations wherever it has played, and with its gripping story and innovative style The Billie Holiday Story is a must-see production and not just for the jazz fans.

- The show runs from Friday May 18-Saturday 19 with performances starting at 7.45pm.

There is also a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £16.50

The Crow is offering readers the chance to win two pairs of tickets for any of the shows.

To stand a chance of winning a pair, answer the following question:

What is the name of Rain Pryor's father?

Send your answer on a postcard to: Billie Holiday Competition, The Royston Crow, Heath House, Princes Mews, Royston, SG8 9RT, to arrive by Tuesday, May 15.

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