After 13 years of performing all over the world, tribute singer Sharon Owens knows a thing or two about stepping into Barbra Streisand’s shoes. She’ll take the Reagle Theatre of Greater Boston’s stage alongside Frank Sinatra tribute singer Sebastian Anzaldo on Sunday, February 23 for ‘Barbra and Frank: The Concert that Never Was’ at 2 p.m. This one day only performance will take place at Reagle Music Theatre, 617 Lexington Street in Waltham, Massachusetts. Visit www.reaglemusictheatre.org for tickets and for further details!
Sharon, you have toured all over the world as Barbra Streisand. What first inspired you to portray her and what inspires you now to portray her with each performance?
How I first got started doing Barbra was kind of a fluke! I was a singer first and I really didn’t know I had the look. That was about 13 years ago. I was in Los Angeles doing a cabaret show. The producer of the show asked me to sing, ‘He Touched Me’ by Barbra Streisand.
I said, “You don’t want me to sing that seriously, do you?” He said he did and wanted me to sing it in a beautiful gown. I asked him if he minded if I spoofed Barbra Streisand. He said he would give me one night.
So, I prepared for it and sang, ‘He Touched Me’ and it was funny and it brought the house down.
After three months of doing that for fun, a friend of mine in the cast said, “Why don’t you do it for real? There’s a real occupation for tribute artists and legends in Vegas and you’d be great.” So I decided to take it a little more seriously, not a spoof. I started working on her voice, her pronunciation, and her look. The rest is history.
Were you a big fan of Barbra Streisand to begin with?
I say this not with any disrespect, but no. She wasn’t my era. I’m her son’s age (laughs). I loved her music, but my sister was the big fan actually.
When I was 17 or 18 doing theatre, I had a write up that said, ‘A Star, Pardon the Expression, is Born.’ They were comparing me to Barbra Streisand’s voice even back then.
So in a way, it was kind of fate.
A lot of times, I think it was. I didn’t plan on being a tribute artist or impersonator, but it is something like an actress. I love doing it and I love to sing those beautiful songs.
I imagine there are many songs you have to remember.
Oh my gosh! I sing the hits. When she does concerts now, sometimes she doesn’t do the hits, so I always make sure I do the songs that everybody wants to hear.
How do you prepare to become Barbra Streisand? Is there a process?
Wow, that’s a good question actually. There used to be when I first started. Being an actress or a singer, you would have to prepare for it mentally and make sure your costume is just right, but just because I’ve been doing it for 13 years now, it comes very, very second nature. Offstage, believe me, I’m not Streisand. I definitely don’t have her checkbook.
Did you ever have the chance to meet Barbra in your travels?
That’s the number one question I get from the audience as I greet the people at the end of the show. The answer is no. I’ve never met her and I don’t know if I want to. It’s not that I don’t want to meet her, but I think I would be nervous, embarrassed, or I would faint! If I had the opportunity, I would probably thank her for paying my mortgage. I’m an actress and I’ve studied her moves, but I don’t study her life.
What would you say sets the show apart and what’s the best reason people should go and see this production?
What sets us apart is it’s an unexpected journey and all original. It’s just what you would imagine – two huge egos on stage. Who is going to close the show? That is a very funny twist.
I know you are touring around the world. Is there anything new coming up for you?
We just got back from Holland. We just have been home for not even five weeks. We won’t go to Europe again for a year. We do have some offers to go back to Australia, possibly go down to Chile. We are a very busy act. God, I am just so grateful for the work and to sing and act for a living. It is just such a blessing.