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Barbra and Frank

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By Esther Lynn

It's somewhat surprising that two superstars like Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand never shared the same stage at the same time. Yes, Barbra was one of the artists featured on the 1993 Frank Sinatra Duets album but, the truth of the matter is, they didn't really work together, not even in the studio. Both of the popular duets albums were done by combining already recorded Sinatra tracks with new tracks by contemporary artists, ala the Natalie Cole/Nat King Cole Unforgettable recording.

That doesn't mean that music lovers will never have the chance to experience Barbra and Frank performing together'or at least the next best thing. If the twosome HAD worked together, it might have turned out similar to what is currently being done in the Le Bistro Theatre at the Riviera hotel. Sharon Owens and Sebastian Anzaldo, both talented vocalists in their own right, have joined forces to create the illusion of Streisand and Sinatra in Barbra & Frank, The Concert That Never Was'

A Florida native, Sharon Owens earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and Vocal Music from the University of South Florida and her Masters in Education from Chapman University. She worked her way through college by singing and dancing at Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa, did commercial studio work for Sea World and also performed in musical theater. Sharon toured all over the world, opening for acts including The Lettermen, Loretta Lynn, the Mandrell sisters and Willie Nelson.

Sharon's career as a Barbra Streisand Impersonator/tribute artist began in 1992 when she moved to Los Angeles. She began performing as Streisand in dinner theaters and cabaret night clubs. Her resemblance to the star, plus her vocal ability, led to her being hired as a Legends in Concert performer at Bally's Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

If Sharon's face looks familiar, it's probably due to the fact that a couple of years ago, she wound up as a look-alike/sound alike finalist on the FOX TV show, 'Performing As'' Her exposure and success on that series, as well as guest spots on Access Hollywood, Extra, Entertainment Tonight and Family Feud, left Barbra fans waiting to see more of Sharon. She has gone on to perform her 'Tribute to Barbra Streisand' for corporate events as well as in major showrooms around the world.

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Sebastian grew up in a musical family - his father a sax player and later a talent agent, his mother a singer. Sebastian started playing drums and singing at 11, and began his professional career working with bands in bars and frat parties while still a student. After ten years of playing in and around Omaha, followed by a cross-country road stint for the Air Force, Sebastian's love of jazz led him to New York, courtesy of a grant from the National Endowment For The Arts.

A year later, he headed to the West Coast to seek fame and fortune. He spent 14 years in and around Los Angeles, where he played local venues, toured and recorded. In 1963, Sebastian put together a show band called Wild Life and headed to Las Vegas. It was during his years with Wild Life that Sebastian discovered his knack for doing Frank. Due to popular demand, he began incorporating more Sinatra music into the show. Although Wild Life became one of the most popular acts around the city, entertaining crowds at the Stratosphere, Maxim, Treasure Island, Stardust, MGM Grand, Excalibur, New York-New York and Caesars Palace, after eight years, Sebastian was ready for a change. The natural change was to focus on the Sinatra sound.

That phase of his career began with corporate events. Word got around about his ability to look and sound like Ol' Blue Eyes and within a short time, Sebastian got a call to star in The Tribute To Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean, currently at the Greek Isles in Las Vegas. (On occasion, and when his schedule permits, Anzaldo is still called on to handle the Frank role in the Rat Pack tribute production.) This led to his teaming up with Sharon Owens to create their current show which debuted at the East Flamingo Tuscany before moving to the Riviera on the Las Vegas Strip.

Utilizing screens displaying both still photos and film clips of Streisand and Sinatra, the mood for Barbra & Frank, The Concert That Never Was' is set even before the artists take to the stage. Highlights and achievements from Streisand's and Sinatra's careers, and how their lives intertwined are shown. To begin the musical portion of the show, off- stage the voice of Sebastian Anzaldo as Frank is heard singing 'I've Got A Crush On You,' followed a moment later by Sharon Owens joining in as Barbra. Barbra wastes no time reminding the audience that Frank would not record the duet with her in the same studio. She and Frank then move into Luck Be A Lady, from Guys and Dolls'and the show is off and running.

Ladies first. Barbra wows the audience with People, Second Hand Rose and Don't Rain On My Parade, all from Funny Girl. This is followed by Evergreen, Woman In Love, Guilty and Enough Is Enough. Barbra closes her segment with a special dedication to her real father, singing Papa Can You Hear Me and Piece of Sky from the film Yentl.

Frank enters singing I've Got The World On A String. He continues with some of Sinatra's most memorable hits, including Summer Wind, Come Fly With Me, Fly Me To The Moon' and My Way. Anzaldo as Sinatra brings the audience to their feet with a moving rendition of That's Life.

For the rest of the show, Anzaldo and Owens share the stage, offering both good natured banter and music. With Rob Hyatt accompanying them on piano, separately and together the two entertainers perform You Can't Take That Away From Me, All Of Me, Witchcraft, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Sue Me/I'll Know When My Love Comes Along, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Something Stupid, All The Way, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Happy Days Are Here Again, Somewhere and New York, New York. A high point of the Barbra and Frank: tribute features Anzaldo singing songwriter Ervin Drake's poignant Sinatra hit, It Was a Very Good Year, with Owens doing Marvin Hamlisch and Marilyn and Alan Bergman's memorable The Way We Were, as photos and film of the real stars from over the decades is shown.

All told, Barbra & Frank, The Concert That Never Was' features more than 30 songs originally performed by one or both of the super stars. You will never have the opportunity to see them perform together and, even if you could, it would probably involve taking out a second mortgage to pay for the tickets. With that said, if you are a fan of either Frank or Barbra, this show should provide a happy solution at a bargain price.

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