Barbra Tribute Went Over Like Buttah! (Photos By Andrew Werner)
Lorna Luft, Scott Nevins, Ann Hampton Calloway. Photo: Andrew Werner
There was no night off for fans last Friday, even though Barbra Streisand's two Brooklyn concerts were Thursday and Saturday.
Friday was the night they held "Hello, Gorgeous!"--a musical tribute to Babs at Kaye Playhouse, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Barbra the perfectionist would have adored it.
Host Scott Nevins explained to the audience that the performers were asked to interpret the Streisand hits their own way rather than try to sound like Barbra, especially since no one can sound like Barbra.
That resulted in Tituss Burgess doing a powerful "Papa, Can You Hear Me?", Von Smith wailing a surreally touching "People," and Natalie Joy Johnson personalizing "He Touched Me" and making it poignant, funny, and real.
There was also a hot duet of "Tell Him" done by Kelly King and Natalie Toro; a bright and poppy "Main Event" sung by Marty Thomas and backup gals; and fun numbers by Nick Adams, Erin Quill, Kristy Cates, Ashley Brown, Jim Caruso, Saycon Sengbloh, and Steven Brinberg (the only one who was allowed to sound like Barbra, since he happens to be an impressionist).
The guest stars were Ann Hampton Callaway, who crooned a sensational "Cry Me A River," and Lorna Luft, who steamed on "The Music That Makes Me Dance," followed by those two duetting on "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again."
Lorna remembered mama Judy Garland coming home from a TV rehearsal and gushing about the extraordinary young talent she was having on her show.
That young talent still has such a hold on people that throughout the night, whenever Nevins would mention other celebrity names, it always drew silence.
"This is such a Barbra house," he noted wryly. "You won't clap for anyone else!"
But of course not.
There is no one else.
Lorna! Photo: Andrew Werner Lorna, Ann. Photo: Andrew Werner Natalie Joy Johnson. Photo: Andrew Werner Saycon Sengbloh. Photo: Andrew Werner