I have seen the immensely talented Christina Bianco do acts in variety shows, and I enjoyed her as the lead in a play. But I have never seen her do a whole cabaret show, a deficiency remedied April 3 at New York’s attractive and important jazz club Birdland. My admiration for her soared even higher. Bianco was absolutely terrific.
Although she wows an audience with her uncanny ability to imitate a wide range of singers, as the thousands who have seen her on YouTube know, what I also appreciated was how vibrant and likable she is holding the stage as a personable entertainer.
Bianco is the real deal. She is a bundle of fun and joy, with enthusiasm that strikes a chord with an audience. From the minute she took the stage, backed by a five-piece band, she was dynamite. She kidded herself singing “Short People,” bemoaning what it is like to be short (4’11”). Later in the show, after regaling us with her impressions, she showed how appealing she can be as herself when she sang “Down With Love.” It is important to recognize that even if she dropped her impersonations, Bianco could win us over in her own right.
But who would want her to do that? She is a marvel of precision as she sings in the manner of Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Whitney Houston, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dión, Christina Aguilera, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, and others whom she perfectly nails.
One of my favorites in her act stemmed from her game of having people call out songs and then the name of someone whose style would be applied. One suggested Madonna’s “Material Girl,” and then as the singer to interpret that song, the name of Edith Piaf rang through the room. When Bianco proceeded to sing as Piaf doing “Material Girl,” the result was spectacular.
She also did a range of impressions from television shows, and most appealingly she did her bit reading from Barbra Streisand’s book about designing her home. Perfectly imitating Streisand’s voice and speech manner, Bianco hilariously captured the pretentiousness of the passages she read,
Much, much more was packed into her effervescent 90-minute show. And yes, she concluded it with her famous YouTube medley of singing voices that can leave one flabbergasted at her vocal rage, sharp ear for performer nuances and amusing facial expressions to go with the lyrics. All of this was cleverly packaged to flow smoothly, further evidence of what a savvy and accomplished entertainer Bianco has become. At Birdland, 315 West 44th Street. Phone: 212-581-3080. Reviewed April 5, 2017,