Thursday, 13 February 2014

Guest Blog: Nina Kristofferson

Following a successful run at the Charing Cross Theatre last year, Nina Kristofferson is currently preparing to tour with her one woman show The Billie Holiday Story. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011 and also toured the UK in 2012. 

The Billie Holiday Story is a cocktail of songs and stories from Billie Holiday’s life woven through the haunting memories that plagued her featuring her greatest hits: God Bless The Child, Lover Man, Strange Fruit, Don’t Explain, All of Me and many more.

Nina’s extensive theatre credits include playing Billie Holiday in I Cover the Waterfront – The Spirit of Billie Holiday (Nottingham), Medea in Medea (UK tour), Bess in Porgy & Bess (USA), Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra (Birmingham) and Liz Imbrie In High Society (Regent’s Park & West End).

Below Nina has written for West End frame about preparing to take The Billie Holiday Story around the UK from April...

Starting the journey for the Tour has been amazing! There is simply so much to do and one always feels like there’s not enough time. We’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to perform at some of the best theatres in the country and we’ve been devising ways to make the show intimate, playful, dramatic, exciting and fresh. We’ll be working with a new director to help us shape the show and Allan Rogers, MD/Pianist from the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ arena tour, will be on board again to lead our 5 piece band so we’re all very excited about that. 

The band line up is pretty much the same, with Martin Shaw on Trumpet, Albert Gaza on Tenor Sax/Clarinet, Phil Donnelly on Double Bass and joining us for the first time will be Elliott Henshaw on Drums. Elliott’s one of UK’s big band legends when it comes to drumming and he’s also played drums on shows like James Bond 50th Anniversary, TV Concert and The X Factor, so we are very excited to announce that he will be joining the other ‘Cats’.

I’m sure we’ll be able to deliver something pretty special again. We’ll also be working with a new lighting and sound designer to help us bring all the different elements together! We’re very happy that The Billie Holiday Story is back on the road and there seems to be a lot of excitement and buzz about the Tour. 

Tickets are now on sale and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone on the road and kicking the Tour off at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on 1st April 2014… I’m pretty excited about hitting York again and Grimsby for the first time, along with some of our favourite venues like The New Wimbledon Theatre and my old stomping ground, The New Alexander Theatre, in Birmingham, where I grew up!

Nina Kristofferson

During an interview with West End Frame last year, Nina revealed that audiences can expect to learn a lot about Billie Holiday during the show. "The story takes you on a journey." Nina said, "The audience sees the layering and peeling away of Billie’s emotions, why she went through certain things, what happened to her and the effects on her, all interlaced with her wonderful music."

Discussing how she keeps her performance fresh each night Nina said, "Like Billie, I don’t really perform the same every time which is the only way I can be organic. I let the lines speak for themselves, and because I am reacting with the audience they sometimes set a tempo and I try to drive the energy through it. 

"I love playing the role because it is meaty, the dialogue is great and the music superb. Also, the musicians never do exactly the same either so we all have to listen very carefully to each other. With all that going on we get very enthusiastic and I become totally engrossed in the character, delivering the emotions, and it almost takes on a life of its own."

Please visit for further information and tickets, tour dates printed below.

Tour Dates
April 1st - Aylesbury, Waterside
April 8th - Bromley, Churchill Theatre
April 9th - London, New Wimbledon Theatre
April 16th - Grimsby, The Auditorium
April 17th - York, Grand Opera House
May 1st - Woking, The New Victoria Theatre
May 8th - Birmingham, New Alexandra Theatre

Photo Credit 1: Eric Richmond
Photo Credit 2: David Savva 


  1. Yeeey so glad I can see her once again :) been to her show before- awesome voice!

  2. Billie was one of the best vocal storytellers of our time. Nina is really perfect for the role- she has the voice, charisma, look... BHStory is something worth to see for every Jazz fan