Have you ever wondered what might happen if you stopped waiting for permission and began believing in yourself?
Just ask Barbra Streisand. At age 21, she spent her evenings in New York City’s hottest cabaret clubs clad in funky thrift stoke finds. Meanwhile, also at age 21, acclaimed performer Jenna Pastuszek spent her evenings serving mini kosher hot dogs at bar mitzvahs, sporting a patterned bow tie. Until she met Barbra, everything changed.
By experiencing a play coming to Boca Raton, you will learn how Barbra’s self-confidence, power, and unique panache inspired a young performer to get out of her way and embrace her kooky self, weird last name and all.
Me, Myself & Barbra: The music that Made Barbara Barbra is coming to The Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton for four performances from Jan. 12-14.
Join creator/star Pastuszek and music director Broadway’s Joshua Zecher-Ross for this tribute to a trailblazing young Barbra. The production features the music sung between 1959-1965 that turned Barbara into the icon we know and love today.
The upcoming production at The Willow will mark Pastuszek’s and Zecher-Ross’s first public performance in the South Florida region.
As an undergraduate history major, creating Me, Myself & Barbra felt like a full-circle moment for Pastuszek.
“Whenever I sit down to research a performer I admire, I learn so much about myself too,” she said. “I may be singing songs and telling stories of women moving through the world 60 years ago, but so much of what they were facing then is, unfortunately, still present today. What a gift to explore my own history with such a beautiful score behind me.”
Streisand’s long-anticipated memoir was released in November. And this will mark Pastuszek’s first time performing the show since reading the book. “For Barbra fans and people brand new to Barbra, this show will introduce you to facts (and songs) about the beloved singer that you may not have previously known,” Pastuszek said.
Speaking of history, Pastuszek first performed in the South Florida area in 2016. Specifically, she portrayed the title role in Evita at The Broward Stage Door Theatre. It was a performance for which she was nominated for a prestigious Carbonell Award for Best Actress.
“I fell in love with the South Florida theater community during that show,” Pastuszek said. “It’s an incredibly talented and special group of people, and the production quality of South Florida theater is incredible. I knew as soon as I boarded the plane back to NYC that I had to get back ASAP (and not just for the beautiful beaches).”
Me, Myself & Barbra: The music that Made Barbara Barbra enjoyed a successful run at Paper Mill Playhouse’s Brookside Cabaret. Following that run, artistic director Mark S. Hoebee said: “Jenna is an incredible singer with a facile voice perfectly suited to Me, Myself and Barbra.” He thought that “the combination of some of Barbra Streisand’s greatest hits with some hidden gems from her early years was so satisfying.” Further, he was “impressed with the research that Jenna brought forth to weave a lovely and very funny narrative through the songs.”
Chris Alleman, Artistic Director of Theatre SilCo, said the show featured “a cleverly curated playlist with definite crowd pleasers but some lesser-known songs with really lovely arrangements.” He added that Jenna “enraptured the audience with her sincerity while delivering laughter, fun facts, and intricately woven personal anecdotes that really grounded her performance.”
And Matt Silva, Artistic Director of Delaware Theatre Company, called Jenna “a ray of sunshine” with “a powerhouse voice.”
Me, Myself & Barbra: The music that Made Barbara Barbra will play the intimate Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park from Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14. The address is 300 S Military Trail Boca Raton. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, as well as 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14. Tickets are $32 per person, with a $26 group rate (five or more tickets purchased in a single transaction). Season tickets are $25. You can purchase season and group rate tickets only over the phone via the box office at (561) 347-3948. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To buy single tickets, go to https://www.sugarsandpark.org/purchase-tickets.