INTERVIEW: CHRISTINA BIANCO Returns to The Green Room 42 With Her New Show "Diva On Demand"
Christina Bianco publicity shot (Darren Ball)
Christina Bianco, better known as "The Girl of A Thousand Voices," returns to The Green Room 42 Saturday, March 30, with her newest show "Diva on Demand.” In this unique show, the audience will build their own playlist from a multi-media menu that Christina and music director Brian Nash will spontaneously perform on demand.
The evening will also include some of Christina's signature unlikely interpretations, which includes pairing a singer with an unexpected song. Have you ever wondered what Julie Andrew (and yes, she does her SPOT ON just look up the YouTube videos) would sound like singing "Saved by the Bell' Theme song, well then this is the evening for you!
Christina Bianco’s singular voice and comedic charm have brought audiences around the world to their feet. Bianco captured international acclaim as a YouTube sensation with her “diva” impression videos, gaining over 24 million views.
RyeTheNewsGuy.com talked with Christina ahead of her show on Saturday about what the experience has been like becoming an internet sensation, finding something you're good at and using it to your advantage, and what you can expect to see at the show.
Where did the idea come from to impersonate famous female singers and did you have any idea it would become as big as it has become?
The funny thing is, I never really “had an idea” to do impressions – its just something I did naturally! My parents tell me that I was always doing impressions as a child. Sometimes I’d sing along watching Judy in The Wizard of Ozor Julie in Mary Poppinsand I’d take on their style and tone, sometimes I’d imitate my school teachers. I honestly didn’t realize I was even doing it. I didn't even do impressions in public until after college! I definitely NEVER imagined that they’d be such a huge part of my life today and would take me so many places.
Who’s your favorite person to impersonate and why?
For years, I’ve been saying that I can’t choose just one, but it’s lies. It’s totally Celine Dion! I’ve been a huge fan for my entire life so I know her work and her “isms” very well. She gives me a lot to work with as an impressionist. Her mannerisms, her physicality and her pattern of speech, are all very specific. And of course her epic voice!!! Attempting to perform her signature songs in her voice is a challenge but I do confess, my favorite thing is to have her sing something she’s never done. Celine covering “Barbie Girl” as a ballad is a personal fave!
What advice can you give to people, especially performers who have a certain niche they fall into, or a special skill that want to expand on, how do they take that and do something with it?
I know it sounds cliché but my advice is to just be YOU! It’s unfortunately not very easy to do that in this world. When you’re a little unique, there are always a zillion people telling you to conform in one way or another, and who will want you to fit in a box. Very often, I felt like I was trying to be something I wasn’t. It took me a while to realize that I didn't need to follow a template. Its hard to pave your own way but if you have a skill or talent that gives you an edge or makes you ‘different,’ you should take every opportunity to make the most of it. There are so many more outlets and ways to create than their used to be. You can post your work on social media, make your own films and albums… and if get yourself noticed, great! If not, that’s still great because you were able to express yourself and build something on your own.
Have you gotten to meet any of the women you impersonate and if so what was their reaction?
Yes, there have been a few – and thankfully ALL positive! But here’s the best one. I was singing at the same event as Kristin Chenoweth and the bookers asked for a “diva mash-up” but specifically told me to not include my impression of Kristin in my set, thinking it might be awkward. After my performance, Kristin came up to me, grabbed me by the arm, looked me straight in the eye - which was easy, as we’re the same height - and she said, “You didn’t do me! Why didn’t you do me? Next time, you show them all what we’vegot!” It was a fabulous moment I’ll never forget! She’s always been very supportive of me but to have her say that to my face was truly special. She’s absolutely an inspiration to me, on stage and off.
What can we expect at your “Diva On Demand” show at The Green Room 42? I understand the audience will have a say in deciding what you sing?
I’m so excited!!! Over the years, people have been very vocal about how they enjoy the on-the-spot musical mash-ups I do in my live concerts, so I wanted to find a way to turn that concept into a whole show. I tested a version of this about 2 years ago and realized I really wanted to run with the “on demand” theme to take it to the next level. We can’t leave everything to chance so it will have a Netflix style structure with a menu of various categories and options. There’s so much to play with. Classic movie musical tunes, sitcom theme songs, 80’s movie anthems, dramatic monologues … all performed as me or any multitude of celebrities. The audience gets to decide! With the musical genius of Brian Nash included, the possibilities are really endless!
Your roots are in musical theater. Any plans for Broadway?
Oh yes, I’ve totally planned it. Just have to make a few calls.
In all seriousness, I’m just going where my career is taking me at the moment. Right now, it happens to be taking me all over the world doing concerts – which is totally fabulous and I love it. (I’m currently answering these questions from a plane to Dohar!) But I also love performing in theatre and being part of a cast. There’s nothing else like it. When the right theatrical projects come along, I assure you I will not hesitate to say yes!
Christina Bianco is.... (finish this off how you’d like to end!)
always ready to chase a cute dog down the street in hopes of petting it. (Can you tell I’m missing my dog right now?)