Black Theatre Live


Billie Holiday Story

NINA KRISTOFFERSON (BILLIE HOLIDAY) Theatre: The Girl in Paradise Now and Then (GaySweat Shop Theatre/ Drill Hall), The Girl in Blues in the Night (Liverpool Playhouse/No 1. Tour), Lorraine Hansberry in Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame (No.1 Tour USA), Bess in Porgy & Bess and Helene in La Belle Helene (USA Euphonious Opera Company), Jazz & Blues Concerts, Polly Pepper in A Peck of Pickled Pepper (Oily Carte Company), Belle in A Christmas Carol (Theatre Venture), Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra (Birmingham), Genie in Aladdin (Northampton Theatre Royal), Mabel in Tapping Harlem (No.1 Tour), Puss in Puss in Boots (Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal), Marcella Jones in The Marriage of Figaro (Unicorn Theatre/Tour) West End, Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors (York Theatre Royal), Bagheera (Black Panther) in The Jungle Book (Basingstoke Haymarket Theatre), Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors (Torch Theatre Milford Haven), Shirley Strode in Sammy(Stratford East Theatre Royal), Lillian Lopez in Mickey Spatz (Arcola Theatre), Mother in Sweetpeter and Ruby in Little Angels (Polka Theatre), Queen B inRelease The Beat (Arcola Theatre), Ensemble in High Society (Regent’s Park & No. 1 Tour), Liz Imbrie (The Reporter) in High Society, Shaftesbury Theatre, West End, Gwendolyn & Dessrae (Opera Singer) in Journey To The River Sea, Unicorn Theatre West End, Deena in Dreamgirlz Concert, Sweet Inspiration in Elvis Tour, Lead Vocalist in West End Highlights, The Nurse in Romeo & Juliet, The New Players, Deena in Dreamgirlz Concerts in Dubai and West End, Soloist inOpera/Classical Soiree’s in UK and Europe, Medea in Medea, Northern Broadsides, No. 1 Tour, current production Billie Holiday in Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story, Nina’s first musical play, Premiered and sold out at Assembly’s Dans Paleis, 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, then she went on to do a successful 2012 Tour.  Nina has now finished a 2013 sell-out run in London’s West End at Charing Cross Theatre and looks forward to her current No. 1 Tour of Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story. TV: Susan in Barry Brown, (BBC) Sitcom Pilot, Pebble Mill At One presenting The Children’s Programme (BBC), Paula Symons in Doctors (BBC), and Corporate video, Jane McKenna Cold Calls (Thames TV), Commercials Carlsberg, AVIVA, Access Bank Visa Card, Ibuleve, The London Peace Week.  Film: Melissa in Underexposure, Elizabeth in Aktion Regen Fertility Project, Docu Film (Cinema Humain), Designer in TAF Film, (Connected Pictures).  Nina has been involved in countless amounts of Photo Shoots and Singing at Corporate events like The Oil Barons Ball in Dubai, Damien Hirst Birthday Party, The Hilton on Park Lane and Man Group plc to name but a few...  Workshops include: Victoria in Basin St Blues (Notional Theatre), Fenda in Music The Musical (Bridewell Theatre), May in Basin St Blues Notional Theatre.  Voice Over: Mary Seacole, Crimean War, National Army Museum.

ALLAN ROGERS (MUSICAL DIRECTOR / PIANIST) Allan Rogers (Musical Director/ Piano) has enjoyed a long career as a studio musician and Musical Director covering all aspects of the industry, from the theatre to television, advertising to corporate events. He has acted as personal Music Director to many artistes, including, Cilla Black, Marti Caine, Bradley Walsh, Cliff Richard, Wayne Sleep, Joe Longthorne, Petula Clarke, and recently Music Associate for Elaine Paige and Russell Watson. Allan has been MD/Music associate, for over 600 TV shows, including The Shoe Show (Wayne Sleep), Count Me In, What’s That Noise?, Record Breakers, Russell Harty, Live!, Joe Longthorne series, Jim Davidson Shows, Bafta Awards, 4 years of Noel’s House Party, 7 years of the The GenerationGame, Stars In Their Eyes, This is My Moment, and recently, One Night with Rod Stewart.   Allan has acted as MD for many theatrical productions, including Time starring Cliff Richard, which ran for two years at the Dominion Theatre, and also Cliff’s Production of Heathcliff in which Allan was production Musical Associate and Choral Director. He was Music Director for the RSC production of, A Clockwork Orange working closely with Bono And Edge of U2 on their complex score.  Last year Allan was involved as Music Associate and Arranger on the West End productions of Flamenka directed by Craig Revel Horwood at the Lyric Theatre, and Liberace Live From Heavenat the Leicester Square Theatre.  Allan has written, arranged and conducted the music for many corporate events and major international shows, including Sun City Extravaganza in South Africa, last year’s production of Storm at Jupiter’s Casino in Surfers Paradise in Australia, and just last Christmas the production of Subway at Walker Hill Casino in Seoul, Korea. He also Co-Orchestrated and co-produced the concept album of the new show Morgan’s Run is being developed into a musical for the Theatre, premiering ths year in Sydney and was MD/Pianist on Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday story in the West End.  For the past six years Allan has been Music Director on Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour playing to packed houses at such venues as the O2 and Wembley Arena.

MARTIN SHAW (TRUMPET) Martin was born into a family of musicians. Both his parents were professional piano players.  Martin began piano at 9 and trumpet at 11. At 15, he gained a place in the National Yoth Orchestra. Martin studied at The Royal Academy of Music for 3 years (L.R.A.M., and G.R.S.M Hons Degree), then spent a postgraduate year at The Guildhall school of Music studying jazz (L.G.S.M.) Teaching posts: Professor of jazz trumpet at Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal College of Music, and West London University. Martin has worked with many different artists across the board including: The Brand New Heavies, Paul Young, Sting, Jamiroquai, Jamie Cullum, Jools Holland, Swing Out Sister and Patti Austin. In the jazz field: Stan Tracey, Kenny Wheeler, Phil Woods, James Morrison, John Dankworth and Cleo Lane, Peter King, Guy Barker, Dave O’Higgins and Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday story in the West End. He has been a member of the BBC Big Band for the last 4 years.

ALBERT GAZA (TENOR SAX/CLARINET) Albert was born in San Antonio, Texas. He had the privilege of performing with professional big bands, jazz, & salsa bands while still in his teens. Albert is an extremely gifted saxophonist and composer with a sound and clarity reminiscent of the Texas Tenor Saxophone tradition of Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet & Davis “Fathead” Newman.  Since completing his post-graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, Albert has been involved with various ensembles including the London City Big Band, Albert Garza Quartet and performs most nights of the week across the Capital at many of the city’s prestigious vanues, including The Savoy, The Dorchester & various Jazz Festivals across the UK. He recently performed with Wynton Marsalis at the Spice of Life in London & his most recent performance credits are Sweet Charity, New Jersey Nights, The Independent British film Subway V and Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday story in the West End.

PHIL DONNELLY (DOUBLE BASS) Phil is a professional musician working in London on shows, gigs and sessions.  Phil is the bassist for West End leading lady Rachel Tucker, this includes playing Bass for her live shows and recording her critically acclaimed debut album- The Reason.   Phil recently finished the sell out run and European Premier of The Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Phil was also Double Bassist for Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story at Charing Cross Theatre where he Job Shared with Bassist Geoff Gascoyne.  West End depping includes Viva Forever, Spice Girls show.  Onstage Band and Pop gigs include Playing with Gabby Young and other Animals (GYAOA) tours on stage band. (Festivals include, Latitude, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party. Other gigs withGYAOA Bafta Awards: after party, Radio Sessions and EU Tours).  In January 2012 Phil supported Ed Sheeran in his sell out UK tour playing with comedy hip hop band Abandoman.  Phil is the house bassist for London Gay Men’s Chorus, Performances venues inlclude Cadogen Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Grand Opera House- Belfast.   Phli is a proud endorsee of GMR basses.

ELLIOTT HENSHAW (DRUMS Elliott has been in demand as a drummer for many years and is now working with artists and bands that include; Shirley Bassey, John Lord andRoger Glover (Deep Purple), Paul Anka, Michael Ball, Leo Sayer, Joe Longthorne, Jane McDonald, Tony Christie, Kirk Whalum, Andy Abraham, Keely Smith, Tony Hadley, Limahl, The BBC Big Band, Syd Laurence Orchestra, The Drifters, Gwen Dickie, Gabriella Cilmi, Georgie Fame, Mathew Herbert, Bob Mintzer, Mike Stern, Laurie Holloway and Michael Feinstein. His West End credits include; Lion King, The Rat Pack, The Bodyguard, Jersey Boys, The Producers and Priscilla Queen of The Desert. He runs his own band that has frequently headlined at Ronnie Scotts club in London and released an album – Is That Not What You Wanted.  In 2012 Elliott had the idea to produce a 25th Anniversary Buddy Rich Memorial concert at the Palladium in London. He was the Creative Director of the event hosted by Buddy’s daughter Cathy Rich and he performed alongside many leading names in the international drumming community.


TIM WELTON  (ARTISTIC CONSULTANT) Tim studied Languages at Durham University before training at RADA. He subsequently acted for a number of years before concentrating on directing. He has worked for numerous regional theatres and been Artistic Director of Libra Theatre Company Cambridge. Tim has been Associate Director on the West Endand Touring Productions of Sleeping Beauty (Barbican Theatre and New York), Tintin (Playhouse Theatre) as well as Cabaret (Lyric Theatre, Savoy Theatreand National Tour) and London Road (Royal National Theatre). Most recently he was Resident Director for Bill Kenwright Limited working on, amongst others, the West End and Touring Productions of Blood Brothers, Evita, Dreamboats and Petticoats and The Pitmen Painters.  Other Directing includes: Single Spies, Trainspotting, Disco Pigs, (York Theatre Royal) Jean Jacques (Theatre 503, New Wolsey Studio and Edinburgh Festival) A Very Private Beach and Henry Purcell' his Ground' (for ENO Baylis) Black Shuck (for The Norwich and Norfolk Festival).  Tim is currently in pre-production for a national tour of Simon Stalworthy's adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small.