Steven Brinberg is an impeccable performer known not as himself onstage, but as Barbra Streisand. Brinberg has been impersonating the legendary diva for years on stages around the world. Now, Brinberg brings Babs back to New York for two nights of performances at 54 Below in Simply Barbra: A Very Brooklyn Christmas, on December 12 and 30. Below, he discusses his upcoming show, as well as his duet wish list and why he defends Lucille Ball's infamous performance in Mame.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
The soundtrack to Mame with Lucille Ball. I saved up my allowance to buy it and when I got it home the LP was warped and I had to take it back. When I told the clerk it was warped, he said, "You're telling me!" But I liked it then, and I stand by it now, too. As Lucy said at the time, "Mame stayed up all night and drank...she doesn't have to sound like Julie Andrews." Of course she wasn't a great singer, but I only knew her as "Lucy" so when I saw that film and she was so different I flipped out. And I think "My Best Girl" is very touching. I wanted to be that little boy in the film with her SO bad...
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
Liza Minnelli at Carnegie Hall 1979...INCREDIBLE.
What is your go-to audition song?
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
"Winter in a Summer Town."
What song gets you in the holiday spirit?
"I Don't Remember Christmas," 'cause it's so bitter!
If you can invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
Ah, so many choices! I just love Steven Pasquale's voice. It's extraordinary. But Claybourne Elder (my guest in the December 12 show) is pretty amazing too. I've had so many guests sing with me through the years, from Audra McDonald to Jonathan Groff to Pat Suzuki. My wish list is still long. Mandy Patinkin would be fun. We could sing an imagined cut Yentl duet.
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Virginia Martin (Little Me, How to Succeed). "The Other Side of the Tracks" is INCREDIBLE.
What’s your favorite love song?
"Almost a Love Song."
What is your favorite workout track?
"Isn't it Kind of Fun" by Ann-Margret in State Fair.
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
"I Wish I'd Met You" (Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne).