I'm Not Famous Review - Dazzling Musical Memories

Who knew? After seeing Barbara Minkus in numerous performances at the Santa Monica Playhouse, it was a stunning surprise to discover that the lady has a pair of lungs that won’t quit. A cross between Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand, Barbara Minkus sings her heart out in the melodic journey of her life. A show-business memoir, I’M NOT FAMOUS is sprinkled with dazzling musical memories.

Barbara Minkus starring in "I'm Not Famous" - Photo by George J. Vennes III

I’M NOT FAMOUS is Barbara’s personal odyssey and not to be missed.  Even as a tiny tyke, Barbara couldn’t resist stepping into the spotlight, ably encouraged by her songbird mom. But real show business began in New York City in Julius Monk’s “Bits and Pieces,” where a plump adolescent wormed her way in audience’s hearts through her lilting voice and cuter-then-pie presentation. Barbara outlines her successes in “Funny Girl, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and other show-stoppers. Television appearances on “The Danny Kaye Show, “The Tonight Show,” and “The Merv Griffin Show” brought her right into the living rooms of millions of viewers.

Barbara Minkus in Israel - Photo by George J. Vennes III

But Barbara also lets the audience in on some of her heart-felt personal struggles and triumphs, including her life-long battle with weight, her search for a mate, her exploration of her Jewish roots, and how she handled family obligations and responsibilities. Barbara manages to flesh out an exciting and eventful life (thus far) – a life where she never gave up but kept making lemonade from those lemons which life has a way of piling on everyone’s head.

Barbara Minkus, a Musical Career - Photo by George J. Vennes III

Talented director Susan Morgenstern expertly helms this solo show, carefully balancing joy and sorrow, music and dialog. An actress since the age of five, Susan crossed over into directing and is currently the Producing Director of the Jewish Women’s Theatre and the occasional show director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Barbara Minkus on Stage - Photo by George J. Vennes III

But the real star of the show is Barbara’s emotionally charged, tuneful delivery of favorites, old and new.  Music director Ron Barnett proves to be an accompanist with more than just a background presence. James Cooper’s video projections and set design are simple but effective, with excellent scenic consultation by Alexander La France, fantastic sound by The Attic Room, and especially effective lighting by George J. Vennes III.

Barbara Minkus Sings - Photo by George J. Vennes III

I’M NOT FAMOUS runs through July 22, 2017, with performances at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are $30 with discounts available for seniors, students, teachers, active members of the military, and groups of 8 or more. For information and reservations, call 310-394-9779 ext. 1 or go online.

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