As the discourse surrounding the high-profile recasting of Broadway’s “Funny Girl” revival continues, one New York performer is paying tribute to the woman who started it all: Barbra Streisand.
Next week, Steven Brinberg will perform songs from “Funny Girl” ― along with other selections from Streisand’s extensive catalog ― as part of a special New York engagement of his concert act, “Simply Barbra.” The show takes place Monday at the Manhattan nightspot Chelsea Table + Stage and is intended as a belated birthday celebration for Streisand, who turned 80 in April.
Catch a clip of Brinberg performing “People” from “Funny Girl” above.
Brinberg, who describes himself as “ageless and evergreen,” has performed as Streisand for more than 25 years, toured with legendary composer (and Babs’ longtime musical director) Marvin Hamlisch and appeared in films like 2003’s “Camp” and 2016’s “Thirsty.” The New York native has also recorded two albums, “Steven Brinberg Is Simply Barbra” and “Simply Barbra: The Duets Album.”
“Barbra is in a class all her own,” Brinberg told HuffPost. “She’s so unique and opened the doors for so many great ladies that came after her, from Bette Midler to Lady Gaga. I love that she can just stand there, sing and draw you in, like Peggy Lee or other great artists who don’t run all around the stage to make you pay attention.”
As to his thoughts on performing at Chelsea Table + Stage, he said: “It’s just such a gorgeous and elegant venue. As soon as I saw the grand staircase, I started singing ‘Hello, Dolly!’”
Brinberg’s special guest for “Simply Barbra” will be actor and singer Julie Benko, who has won acclaim as Beanie Feldstein’s stand-in in the current Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.” She’ll play Fanny Brice full time from Aug. 2 to Sept. 8, and then on Thursday evenings once Lea Michele joins the cast.
In honor of “Simply Barbra,” HuffPost asked Brinberg to rank his top Streisand performances. Here are Brinberg’s picks.