News: Simply Barbra Holiday Show: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Matzo…

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Steven Brinberg is the premier Barbra Streisand impressionist, who has taken his act, “Simply Barbra”, to international acclaim both on stage and television (performing on several occasions with none other than Streisand buddy Marvin Hamlisch) paying homage to all that is Streisand. Steven does not lip-sync but does a stunningly accurate singing impressionism of Streisand.

Steven will be doing Simply Barbra Holiday Show: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Matzo… at Feinstein’s / 54 Below this Sunday, December 18. It’s an evening of holiday tunes, Streisand classics and glimpses of other divas from Cher to Bea Arthur. All performed live, no lip synching. Look for a special guest star to join Barbra to help ring in the holidays – and sing some famous Christmas songs written by Jewish composers.

Steven Brinberg has been acclaimed for his vocal performance of Barbra Streisand for over a decade around the world. In addition to touring all over America he has also played extensively in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Thailand, Spain, Mexico and Canada…more cities then the real Barbra! Steven was hired by Streisand’s management to perform at her friend Donna Karan’s birthday party.

The show contains songs from both The Christmas Album – “probably more from that one,” Steven notes, and Christmas Memories. “It’s funny,” says Steven, “I change the show constantly especially the talking. At one point, I referred to James Brolin as a famous B movie and TV actor, at another point I took the B out. The challenge in keeping the shows fresh after so many years is helped by Barbra still being such a presence. Keeps it current. And I’m always free to sing songs she has never done, as I know exactly how she might do them down to the last breath. I had been singing ‘Make Someone Happy’ in the show years before she recorded it. And the end result when she did it was pretty close. I was surprised though that she changed her phrasing on the lyric from ‘Love is the ansuh’ to ‘Love is the anserrr’ perhaps to plug the title of the album!”

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Review: Jinkx Monsoon in “The Vaudevillians”

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This decisively proves that Jinkx Monsoon is far more than just the latest winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The artist otherwise know as Jerrick Hoffer is, at the very least, one of the most talented and successfully ambitious drag artists of his generation. At most, his work in The Vaudevillians shows that he has the potential to develop into a drag performance artist worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Taylor Mac, John Kelly and Justin Vivian Bond.

The Vaudevillians isn’t quite as searching as the best work of those artists, but it is certainly very much more than your typical gay bar drag act. The only thing it has in common with a bar show is performances of campy hit tunes both recent and classic. Here, however, those songs are sung live, and in a very different style than they were originally.

They’re filtered through this kooky conceit: In the 1920’s the married vaudeville team of Kitty Witless (Monsoon/Hoffer) and Dr. Dan Von Dandy (Richard Andriessen), while touring through Antarctica, were victims of a devastating avalanche, instantly freezing them alive. But thanks to Global Warming, they recently thawed, out only to discover that pop artists of various decades had “stolen their music and passed it off as their own!”

Hoffer and Andreissen (a more than equal acting and singing partner for his charismatic leading lady) make smart and witty use of this approach, for example combining a story out of Henrik Ibsen and a song done by Gloria Gaynor to create a torchy twenties-style anthem (when a good portion of the audience proved to have no idea who Ibsen was, Kitty tch-tched and proclaimed “go out and read a book, fer gawdssake!”). They also skew their interpretations to the raunchier and darker edge of vaudeville, avoiding its mustier, more dated aspects – except when doing so makes the joke work.

The evening has something of an arc, and even something of an edge; I’d say, tonewise, Kitty and Dr. Dan are the missing link between the wide-eyed innocence of Mickey & Judy and the corrosive cynicism of Kiki & Herb. This is an immensely entertaining introduction to a performer I hope visits New York often – let it be Monsoon season all the time!

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.