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An Audience with
"An Audience With Billie Holiday'' is a compelling and moving musical stage play, written by award-winning playwright Neil Cole and starring acclaimed Melbourne-based cabaret performer, Mama Alto as Billie Holiday, accompanied by multi-award winning composer, pianist and musical director Warren Wills.
The legendary jazz singer,Billie Holiday was one of the greatestsingers of all time, and had a seminal influence
on jazz and pop music. Her tumultuous background as
a black woman brought up in abject poverty in early
20th century, underwrote her unique singing ability.
"An Audience With Billie Holiday” is a tribute to the woman they called “Lady Day”; told in the first person
by Mama Alto as the great artist, the story focuses on
her development as a singer, her tragic back story that
shaped her personality, talent and success,and the
songs that saw her achieve unprecedented popularity.
The mesmerizing Mama Alto is known in Melbourne as
the “The Countertenor Diva “ performing regularly at
The Butterfly Club and a must-see at Melbourne Cabaret Festival & Melbourne Fringe Festival. Mama’s recent
show, “Countertenor Diva” recently thrilled audiences
and critics alike at the Perth and Adelaide Fringe
festivals, garnering four star reviews:
"A grand piano, a stool a mic stand, great sound, outstanding lighting effects, an illuminating script and enormous talent from the artists have synchronised to produce a show that is unique, transcendent and most definitely not to be missed by lovers of music."
"Mama Alto possesses that rare commodity, a genuinely
unusual voice, which was used to strong effect in interpretations
which were at times evocative of jazz greatsﾠ"
Mama Alto - Billie Holiday.
MAMA ALTO is a jazz singer, cabaret artiste, and a countertenor diva. Mama Alto (Benny Dimas) is a unique songstress with a voice that transcends gender.
“Opening my mouth, singing with my voice, is an act of transgression against traditional gendered vocal roles, and indeed, of traditional expectations of gender constructed by society".
The voice of Mama Alto – my voice – is a voice that defies gender, the (ascribed to be)
female voice of the contralto or mezzo-soprano within the body of what is (ascribed
to be) a man.”
Drawing on the perceived difference – as a countertenor, as queer, and as a person of colour
– Mama Alto rejoices in individuality to embrace the identity of a vintage torch-singing diva.
"The entire experience was intriguing; her performance is at the same time strong and fragile, her voice a beautiful instrument that challenges perceptions of gender and
identity. 4 STARS ."(RIP IT UP Magazine, Adelaide)
"From an ethereal whisper to a full-bodied bellow, each crescendo feels organic."
Neil Cole - Playwright.
PLAYWRIGHT Neil Cole has had seventeen plays produced in Melbourne, Sydney
and Brisbane and Chicago including 'Alive at Williamstown Pier;' 'A Policewoman’s
Absurdity; 'Billy Possible;' 'Dr Cade,' 'The Campaign,' 'Personality Games'
which he co-wrote with Prof. Gordon Parker from the Black Dog Institute in Sydney,
and 'The Trial of Adolf Eichmann' and more recently 'Every Grain of Sand'
and 'Nina Simone Black Diva Power'. He has won the new writing for theatre
in 1999 and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premiers Literary Award in 2001.
REVIEWS : An Audience With Billie Holiday
VIEW ALL BILLIE MEDIA
“Belling is an exceptional talent with a compelling and charming presence and a versatile, powerful voice”
"An Audience with Billie Holiday is a vividly rendered portrait that will leave you wanting more."
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