STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s nice to ask a question and get a irreverent answer.
Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra impersonators Sharon Owens and Sebastian Anzaldo had been driving around on a big East Coast tour for several weeks when we spoke to them before their S.I. debut a few years back.
When asked how they get revved up for a show, the road weary Owens exclaimed: “Booze! Frank says booze.”
Then she amended: “Well, we just love what we do. It’s our own creation, and we enjoy giving any audience, anywhere, our own creation.”
That creation, “Barbra and Frank — The Concert That Never Was,” returns to Lorenzo’s Cabaret at the Hilton Garden Inn on June 6 (see box below for full show details).
It’s a strange combination, granted, but if any popular Vegas show was destined to play New York, it’s this one. In Anticipation of the event, we spoke with “Barbra” and “Frank” about their show.
SILIVE: Sharon, were you a huge Barbra fan growing up? How did you get into this?
OWENS: I’m a little younger than that Barbra generation in the 1970s. But people would consistently tell me I sounded like her because I was a musical theater singer. They didn’t tell me I looked like her until I put the wig on, and then anything came together. I was in L.A. doing cabaret and I was spoofing Barbra, doing the cross-eyed routine, I’d made my nails really long, I was going around touching the bald heads in the audience and singing “He Touched Me.” A very dear friend in the cast, a drag queen, said ‘Sharon, you should do this for real. You need to take this seriously.’
SILIVE: And that’s what got you taking this thing on the road?
OWENS: Sure enough, there is a little circle of us who really try and do these characters justice. We’re not a circus act although sometimes we feel like it. Our musical director sometimes calls us inmates. We just kind of have some natural things that fit — unfortunately mine’s my nose. We really both did fall into this. I was planning on doing musical theater my whole life, Sebastian is a drummer and musician. Here we wrote this show that was a quirky concept and it’s completely taken flight.
SILIVE: Are you constantly studying the people you’re impersonating, or did you do a bunch in the beginning and now it’s kind of a “set it and forget it” thing?
OWENS: I think that comes in levels. We’d both been honing our craft individually and then after we met it took us a couple of years to decide what Barbra and Frank actually sing together on stage. And then from that step we took it a little further, and a little further. Now it comes extremely naturally. We’ve done medleys, put together jokes and stories, spaghetti and matzo balls. We’re off the cuff, if we have an audience, such as in New York, where people are vocal. People yell out songs and we do ’em all the time. We’ve really become extremely comfortable in these six years on stage. Somebody’s going to throw us a loop one of these days.
SILIVE: Sebastian, what about you?
ANZALDO: I learn small little things all the time. It never fails, somebody will come out of the show almost every night with their own little Sinatra story. And it’s not just stuff that everybody knows. But his life was such an open book at the same time. Playing the character — and there’s so much out on DVD right now, performances and movies, you can see almost everything — it’s always a learning process.
SILIVE: What’s the hardest part for you about doing this show?
ANZALDO: Honestly, I’m a singer and I started out that way. But he was such an excellent singer and performer. To try and get to that level can be really frustrating. I like doing “One For My Baby” which was one of his “saloon songs” that’s just vocal and piano. I love doing it in part because I think I really perform as him well in that setup.
SILIVE: I know the show involves a performance from each of you and then some stuff together. Do you include some surprises or is it hits-only?
ANZALDO: There are a lot of songs of his that I love that we just don’t do in the show, so-called rarities and stuff. You gotta do “My Way,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” stuff like that, and sometimes I wish we had more time to do more than just the hits. Songs like “All The Way,” “Street of Dreams,” “Please Be Kind,” those songs of his that I really like I’d love to squeeze in one day. We’ll see.
Barbra and Frank — The Concert That Never Was
When: Friday, June 6, dinner 7:30 p.m., show 9:30 p.m.
Where: Lorenzo’s Cabaret at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave. at Lois Lane, Bloomfield.
Admission: $35 show charge, ($50 premium seating) plus the cost of dinner per person. Overnight cabaret packages start at $175 per couple.