(PCM) For all of us who love Barbra Streisand, and there are countless numbers of us, it is more than thrilling to share an intimate evening filled with her music and memories.
That’s why performer Steven Brinberg has for many years attracted audiences, large and small, and now his show is coming to an intimate club in New Hope on Saturday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Razz Room, 6426 Lower York Road, in the Clarion Hotel.
Brinberg recreates Streisand’s “transformative” greatest hits and Broadway songs, and there are brief voice appearances from artists including Cher, Julie Andrews, and Bea Arthur. This memorable show, which has been seen in 40 cities and 9 countries, winning several awards, is considered the next best thing to seeing the legendary singer/actress/director in person. He is pleased to meet his fans after the show. The constantly updated show has been seen, and enjoyed, in 40 US cities and 9 countries including tours of Australia.
Brinberg toured for more than 11 years with the late Marvin Hamlisch, who was the award-winning composer of “The Way We Were,” and A Chorus Line,” and was Barbra Streisand’s longtime musical director. Their symphony concerts included the Kennedy Center and several of them co-starred Broadway legend Barbara Cook. Playwright Terrence McNally wrote the narration for Steven-as-Barbra for a concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall which was also seen in Seattle. At Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, he was part of the all-star “Funny Girl” concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Sutton Foster and Whoopi Goldberg.
Brinberg’s special events include performances for Liza Minnelli, Patricia Neal, Lauren Bacall, Joan Rivers, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Donna Karan. Steven was chosen for the latter event by Miss Streisand’s management. He was also chosen by Stephen Sondheim to sing at his birthday concert at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He also has extensive film and TV credits, and two CDs: “Simply Barbra Live in London,” and “Simply Barbra Duets.”
PCM: Please tell me where you are from?
STEVEN BRINBERG: New York City, my entire life. I grew up in the North Bronx and Barbra Streisand is from Brooklyn, we were both born in April and I have the same initials, but in reverse.
PCM: How long have been performing?
SB: I have been performing Barbra’s material for 20 years, which is really kind of amazing. I have always wanted to be a performer and writer in show business. Barbra was so popular that it kind of took hold of my career. I’m a big fan, so it never gets old. I really enjoy it and it is extremely to do it. I change the show all the time.
PCM: Why did you select Streisand?
SB: I believe if you are going to do this, it better be somebody really fantastic. Barbra is such an icon. She is one of a kind. I also love such unique performers as Bette Midler, Liza Minelli, and Judy Garland.
PCM: Please tell me more.
SB: I would say that Barbra has achieved more in every single medium – recordings, film and TV – she is such a fascinating person that I am able to change the show and have it evolve.
PCM: Who else should we expect to see in this show?
SB: There is a snippet of Cher and Julie Andrews as well. Barbra is the queen of the divas, with such a strong following of fans. She did a concert years ago in Australia, and Marvin Hamlisch, who I worked with for many years, snagged us seats downstairs in front. It was unforgettable.
PCM: What kind of venues do you play?
SB: I’ve played big venues such as The Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia with more than 1000 seats, and other ‘intimate shows” with about 100 people – something you won’t get unless you saw her perform in the beginning of her career. I’ve sung some of those songs onstage more than she has, like “Evergreen.” Well, maybe not “Funny Girl,” because she performed it for two years on Broadway.
PCM: As a lover of musical theater, how do you feel about Bette Midler starring in “Hello Dolly” on Broadway?
SB: As excited as a concert is there is something so exciting about a musical that’s why it is so exciting to see Bette Milder on stage in Dolly. There are very few people like that. The only one who could cause a bigger stir on Broadway right now is Barbra.
PCM: Why did you become a performer? Could you have done anything else?
SB: I’m not an extrovert so I would have been happy behind the scenes as a writer and director. So I would be happy if I wasn’t performing as long as I was in show business. I also love children, seniors and animals, so I could have had a caretaking position. But performing is where my heart is and has always been.
PCM: I had the opportunity to spend time with the late Marvin Hamlisch on several occasions and was so saddened by his loss.
SB: Marvin Hamlisch was the most wonderful guy. We spent 11 years doing concerts all over the country. His passing was such a monumental loss.
PCM: How did you two start working together?
SB: Marvin had heard my first CD and he was planning Barbra’s second tour and thought up a skit in which he says ‘I wish there was two of me’ and I would come on. So I sent them all my CDs and after I sent it Bette Midler’s people asked me to play Barbra. A month later, Marvin called me to do a show with him and Barbara Cook.
PCM: When was the last time you spoke to Marvin Hamlisch?
SB: Just before he died I went to Nashville to see the musical of “The Nutty Professor,” and I left him a voice mail message to say how much he enjoyed the show, and he died two days later. His music, will always live. His music will live forever. I did a show called ‘Mostly Marvin,” and it was a great deal of fun to do. His wife, Terrie, and his nephew came to see the show the last time I did it in concert.
PCM: Have you and Barbra Streisand met?
SB: No, not yet. I have met just about everybody in her circle – her sister, her producers and Marvin Hamlisch, who I worked with for many years. Her best friend Donna Karan had a birthday party a few years ago and Barbra couldn’t attend. So I went and sang Happy Birthday and a few other songs that she approved. I am hoping the day will come when I get to meet her face to face.
PCM: How do you view your show?
SB: I do this show with such love and affection, even when I poke fun. She has seen some of the other impressionists who do it with fake noses and cross their eyes and said, ‘I wish they would do me better.’
PCM: Is there a key to all of this?
SB: Yes, the secret to Barbra is being able to hypnotize everybody, instead of trying to win over everybody. There is a stillness. There is a Barbra Streisand Film Festival in New York and I love going because I become fascinated watching her eyes and seeing the makeup. I wish she would make more movies. I would love if she would make a movie out of the current Broadway musical “War Paint,” with Meryl Streep in the other leading role.
PCM: Why should people come to this show and what should they expect?
SB: They should come if they like and appreciate Barbra and her music. I did a show in L.A. recently and her conductor, arranger and record producer came with their wives and said they loved it. If you like musical comedy, great music and want to have fun, they should come.
PCM: Any other reasons?
SB: She sings such memorable songs and I perform a lot of material she hasn’t done live. So I guess I am as close as you will get to her, without paying a gazillion dollars. And it’s fun!
For more information visit: www.simplybarbra.com or call: 888-596-1027. Tickets are: $30 General Admission; Limited VIP tickets are $40; all with an additional $20 minimum. Seating begins one hour prior to the start of the show.
Another show to take notice of features Steven Brinberg as one of the stars in “Michael Lavine & Friends,” on Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at the Broadway Supper Club Feinstein’s 54 Below, at 254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue, in New York City.