'Lady Sings the Blues'

Woodridge Library

'Lady Sings the Blues'

Monday, April 15, 2013, 6 p.m.

Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life.

Raped in her youth by drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics.

The film takes several liberties with Lady Day's 44 years. Among the Billie Holiday standards performed by Ross are "My Man," "I Cried for You," "Lover Man," "Them There Eyes," and the title song.  

Rated R, 2 hours, 24 min; drama.