Of great interest to Barbra Streisand fans! This internationally acclaimed actor, lauded for his portrayal of Barbra Streisand, is currently on tour with Marvin Hamlisch. Features duets with Broadway stars Hugh Panaro (Lestat, Phantom, Les Miz, Side Show), Betsy Joslyn (Sweeney Todd), Karen Mason (Mamma Mia, Sunset Blvd), Heather MacRae (Falsettos), KT Sullivan (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), and more. Features the legendary Kaye Ballard from TV’s The Mothers In-Law and Broadway’s The Golden Apple and Carnival! MAC and BISTRO Award winner.
— The Times (September 18, 2006) – Clive Davis at Too2Much, W1
“**** (4 stars)
Assuming you prefer not to remortgage the house in order to buy a ticket for Barbra Streisand’s next farewell tour, a soirée with Steven Brinberg is definitely the next best thing. Yes, I can already hear your objections: isn’t there something just a little too, well, camp about the idea of a man impersonating the world’s most precious diva?
Well, in normal circumstances, that would be true. Camp too often becomes an excuse for woefully untalented acts to pretend that they are the funniest thing since La Cage Aux Folles. (Yes, I mean you, Kiki & Herb.) But the New Yorker Steven Brinberg understands that while it’s easy to send up La Streisand’s foibles, making her seem human (or at least almost human) and getting the voice right is no mean feat.
Having seen him before, in the much smaller surroundings of the Jermyn Street Theatre, I wondered whether the joke would still seem fresh several years later. The answer is an emphatic yes. The faded glamour of Too2Much — which occupies the former premises of the Raymond Revue Bar — is well suited to the louche, cocktail-hour mood of the show. (Any upright reader of The Times who can make it past the Soho fleshpot attractions and through the door without looking furtive surely deserves a year’s free subscription.)
Accompanied by the pianist Nathan Martin, Brinberg eschews Grand Guignol and focuses on the tiny gestures — the delicate flutter of a hand, the faux-humble sighs — that are an essential part of the superstar’s armoury. This is a woman who suffers private-jet-lag when she flies the Atlantic. And while it’s fair to say that no one could capture Streisand’s arena-bursting vocals at full blast, Brinberg offers an uncannily accurate version of her low-key ballads. The jokes are wonderfully understated, and even though Streisand’s husband, James Brolin, once again comes in for constant mockery, there is a constant undertow of affection. In a funny sort of way, Brinberg is the best press agent Streisand has ever had.”
— Paul Vale – The Stage (filed Friday, 15 September 2006)
“Swathed in a filmy sequinned two-piece and nails that would be better suited to a mandarin potentate, Steven Brinberg makes a fairly workaday Barbra Streisand. The look is fancy dress stuff, instantly recognisable as the diva without overstating. What raises Brinberg’s impersonation from the ordinary is his uncanny ability to truly capture Streisand’s vocal mannerisms in speech and song. Often exaggerated to heighten the comedy, Brinberg sings a collection of the popular ballads, The Way We Were, Don’t Rain On My Parade and People linked with a wonderful patter, parodying the superstar’s personality and idiosyncrasies.
Tomorrow and The Trolley Song sung in her style are a delightful surprise and Sondheim’s I’m Still Here gives him an opportunity to elaborate on his remarkable range of voices. Accompanist Nathan Martin joins in for a charming rendition of You’re The Top and in a remarkable show of dexterity, we are treated to an hilarious version of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers. Some moments are truly magical when Brinberg’s impersonation is spot on, such as in The Way He Makes Me Feel from one of her 17 movies, Yentl but there is much more mileage in gently making fun of her marriage, obsessions and reputation as a control freak.”
— Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
“Almost as luminous as Streisand herself…a remarkably fluid voice…a star of cult status has been born”
— This is London (London, England)
“Scintillatingly funny, unnervingly accurate. A touchingly true tribute to the towering talent (and ego) of Barbra Streisand. A genuinely original show that is brilliantly scripted and beautifully performed.”
— The Times – Clive Davis (joint review with Karen Akers)
“Steven Brinberg is also settling in for a couple of weeks in the West End. The idea of a male singer pulling on evening gown and false eyelashes in ordet to send up Barbra Streisand and her ego may sound too camp for words, but Brinberg’s spoof is so on-the-button that any reservations soon melt away. If the “New Farewell Tour” does not contain as much new material as we were promised, Brinberg still inhabits the role with eerie authority. Singer Paul Robinson did his valiant best to keep a straight face during his guest duet. Accompanied by pianist Nathan Martin, Brinberg takes delicious pot-shots at the Streisand legend. Although the voice is not as big (whose is?) he catches all the tics and mannerisms. His gifts as an impersonator mean we are also treated to the bonus of cameo appearances from the likes of Julie Andrews, Cher and an unbuckled Betty Buckley. So many stars in such a small space.”
— MICHAEL DARVELL – WHAT’S ON IN LONDON
“Having appeared here briefly last year, Steven Brinberg returns to London following a sell-out tour of Australia in his stunning homage to Barbra Streisand. How come a man is better at this sort of thing than a woman? Women ‘do’ Streisand but somehow they never seem to capture the real Barbra in the way that a Jim Bailey or Steven Brinberg can. Bailey, however, always seems rather more serious about ‘being’ Streisand or Judy Garland or Peggy Lee et al, whereas Brinberg seems to be saying it’s just a bit of fun.
But what fun (and he couldn’t be more timely. He arrives just as Streisand has released the Timeless video and DVD of her final public performance at the MGM Grand on New Year’s Eve 1999. So, if we are to be denied seeing the real thing in the 21 st century, we still have Mr Brinberg to be going on with.)
Slmply Barbra is sub-titled ‘The New Farewell Tour’ and, like Timeless, is a trip down memory lane in a reverential but scurrilous tribute to one of the great voices of the last century. Both aurally and visually Brinberg manages to be Barbra in an astonishingly good imitation in which the actor actually seems to inhabit the body of Streisand. He catches perfectly not only the singer-actress’s mannerisms, but also her temperament too.
‘She’ reminisces about the good times and the bad, wondering why she didn’t get asked to do Annie and the act is punctuated by songs sung so much in the Streisand style (‘The Way We Were’, ‘The Nearness of You’, ‘It Takes a Woman’ etc) that you’d think you were witnessing the great artist herself. There are references to James Brolin, her new husband, and what he thinks of her a la Sondheim (“In Brolin’s eyes I’m young, I’m beautiful’), but it’s all done in exquisite good taste.
Mr Brinberg is no mean imitator and he peppers his Barbra impersonation with other great musical ladies: Cher, Eartha Kitt, Ethel Merman, Bette Davis, Carol Channing, Julie Andrews, Sarah Vaughan, Bea Arthur and Katharine Hepburn etc. Al these legends are grist for Steven Brinberg’s mill and his wicked sense of humour leaves you asking for more. Don’t miss.”
Steven Brinberg writes and stars as Simply Barbra which is updated annually as he travels the globe with the show. This year he appears with Marvin Hamlisch and the Symphony Orchestras of Dallas, Milwaukee, Buffalo and Norfolk. Prior appearances with…