Barbra Takes BAM (Kinda)

Don't call it drag. Steven Brinberg's Simply Barbra show glitters tonight at BAM

Impersonating the wildly famous can be tricky business. You have to negotiate a fine line between art (someone else's) and showbiz, and you have to nail the original -- without making people wishing they were watching the original instead. And drag impersonation? Even trickier. Worst-case scenario, the audience is sitting in some Vegas hotel watching "Liza Minnelli" or "Celine Dion" and they can't take their eyes off the Adam's apple. But in the best of cases, they're blown away by the rare impersonator who, like a great cover of a familiar song, makes you notice elements of the original's character that you never really had.

So it is with Steven Brinberg, who's been "doing" Barbra Streisand for more than a decade, constantly updating his show Simply Barbra with new material. He's uncanny, sure, and his singing voice makes you do an audio double take. But he also is a great entertainer. He's toured with every major American symphony orchestra, written with Terrence McNally, performed at Stephen Sondheim's birthday concert at the Library of Congress, you name it. Brinberg's show Friday, March 20 at BAMCafé is free, and starts at 9PM.

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