One of the things we love to do here in the valley is go to live shows. Generally, the entertainers are locals with a Mexican flair or they are from the Branson area. Tickets cost $5. Because the performances are held in the ballroom where square and round dances usually take place, the production values of these shows are constrained. Singers usually perform with electronically augmented accompaniment and the lights are on or they are off.
A campground about ten miles from here which charges somewhat more than ours, has aspirations to be a cut above and advertised a show that was twice as expensive and featured a Barbra Streisand impersonator who normally performs in Las Vegas. The show she brought was somewhat more complex and included videos and photographs of the real Barbra and scenes that went with the song lyrics. Her show required that the movie screen go up and down as needed and during one of the videos, she went back stage to change into another outfit. Volunteers from the campground were drafted to run the music, videos, follow spot and other lighting effects. They struggled mightily. It was hard not to laugh as she called out from back stage as she changed her outfit, “Are you seeing anything?” We were not. It must have been quite a contrast for her to come from glitzy Las Vegas where she does her show every day in the same place with professional staff. But she handled it all with aplomb and good humor.
The real Barbra Streisand is famous for being a perfectionist. I had to wonder what she would have made of a show in her name that was loaded with mishaps. I also wondered if she gets any royalties for the use of her music and her images. At the end of the show, the performer removed her Barbara wig and talked about how she had gotten into making her living pretending to be someone else. She had tried to have a Broadway career and as she sang in cabarets, but people kept telling her she sounded like Barbra. She also had a Barbra nose and once she put on her wig, the resemblance was startling.
From the comments I heard around me, it was apparent that some of the audience members knew little about Barbra and when she talked about Jewish culture and performed a song from Yentl, they remarked that they had never heard of it. It also was clear that the performer had no idea about us. She did not seem to understand that none of us live here full time. When she asked if there were an newlyweds in the crowd, the laughter shook the ceiling. When she asked who had been married twenty years nearly every had went up. And most of they stayed up until she got to fifty years of wedded bliss. A couple who had been married 65 years set the record tonight.