Review by Elizabeth Ann Foster
Universal recording artist Karine Hannah is back by popular demand to perform her personalized version of Barbara Streisand. The show debuted last year at Feinstein’s 54 Below and has now been expanded to include a wider playlist.
Hannah has several 10 top Billboard Chart hit songs including “Burning Up” and “Victory”. Barbara Streisand, or “BS” as Hannah affectionately refers to her, has a special place in her heart. Hannah’s mother was, as she puts it, a “humongous” Streisand fan and it was her dream that Hannah perform her work. Hannah later recorded several Streisand signature songs and surprised her mother with them. Her mother’s enthusiastic reaction included, “Pussy, (short for Hannah’s nickname pussycat), you have got to do them live, no one does them because it takes balls!”
After her mother’s untimely and unexpected passing, Hannah is belting out Streisand for those lucky enough to catch her on this rare and emotional night.
Hannah’s singing respectfully portrayed much of which is signature Streisand, an act requiring great skill and dramatic acumen. She deftly articulated Streisand’s use of a flexible and delicate belting style in an extended tessitura and effectively delivered one challenging song after another. Like Streisand, she made it seem easy. Apart from her expressions, sounds, and stylistic interpretations, Hannah successfully characterized a 1970’s Streisand ranging from her hair style to different fingernail nail lengths. Streisand had learned to play the guitar and in doing so, shortened her signature nails on one hand to finger guitar frets. As a teen growing up in Montreal, people would stop Hannah noting their amazement at her resemblance to Streisand. The audience felt the same way during the evening.
Hannah connected with her audience in a wholesome and earthy way. Her repartee and singing were caring, intimate and personal, making one feel as if hugged.
Songs performed in this nostalgic venue included “Somewhere,” “People,” and “Guilty”, along with a medley she compiled to deliver even more Streisand. Charming duets with actor and recording artist Tyce Green included “Evergreen”, evoking more of the longing and Romance portrayed in so many of Streisand’s performances. A well-earned encore was Hannah’s personal favorite “The Way We Were.”
The audience was moved from laughter to tears. Hannah is a quick wit. She inserted her interpretation of the band Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” into the song set. A native french speaker she had understood it to be “Don’t Stop Eating.”
Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Manhattan Children’s Center and Autism Speaks.
Karine Hannah Sings Streisand Again – Written and performed by Karine Hannah from the works of Barbara Streisand.
At Feinstein’s 54 Below; 254 West 54ThStreet Cellar, NYC 10019;(646) 476-3551.One night performance January 25 2019 at 9:30. Tickets $45-$80 with $25 table per person minimum. Run time: 2 hours