Billie Holiday Theatre, Inc. (BHT) was founded in 1972 by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration), a community development corporation whose mission is to be the catalyst for the progressive improvement of the quality of life for the people in Bedford Stuyvesant.
Marjorie Moon has been the Executive Director and Producer of the AUDELCO and Obie award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre — position she has held for more than thirty years. This is why many of today’s successful actors, writers and designers developed their craft on the Billie Holiday Theatre’s stage. Actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, Tichina (Chris’ mom on Everybody Hates Chris) Arnold, Bill Cobbs, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Carol Woods, Elaine Graham and Ebony JoAnn to name but a few. The great political satirist/comic, Dick Gregory made his theatrical comeback after twenty years on the BHT stage. BHT audiences were also treated to the reunion of Good Times stars Ralph Carter and John Amos; the legendary William “Smokey” Robinson had his first musical theatre production, Raisin’ Hell, produced at BHT; notable authors whose first plays were produced at BHT are: Samm Art Williams, long before his Tony Award nominated play, Home; lyricist for the classic To Be Young, Gifted and Black, the late Weldon Irvine delighted BHT audiences with his musicals Over Forty, The Vampire and the Dentist, and Young, Gifted and Broke; John Henry Redwood honed his first play at BHT before his commercial Off-Broadway staged play, and HBO special Old Settler; Victor Willis and Alex Briley met and performed at BHT eight months prior to forming The Village People; bassist extraordinaire and producer for Miles Davis and Luther Vandross, Marcus Miller performed under Weldon Irvine’s direction in BHT’s pit band.
The New York Daily News calls the Billie Holiday Theatre “a neighborhood jewel and one of the nation’s premier Black playhouses.” The Crisis calls the Theatre “An unsung institution of our own distinction which produces some of the best dramatic productions in the country, a monument — more deserving than the great white way.”