BY ROB LESTER~~~~Barbara Malley is pure delight. Her cabaret shows are fun, funny, highly entertaining, and have touching moments, too. She’s also an inspiring, non-retiring role model, having already jumped the hurdle of turning 80 and having more spunk and energy and enthusiasm than many who are decades younger. Her new show asks OMG! Am I Diva?. I asked Barb, who’s won the MAC Award in the Musical Comedy category, to answer her own question. Here’s how she replied:
“A DIVA can be thought of as a demanding prima dona or as a top performer; consider Beverly Sills vs. Kathleen Battle. A diva can be a hustler in the sense of kind of low-class ‘operator’ or a hustler in the sense of hard hard worker, an achiever, a star. Think someone who fits the first description versus Bette Midler. Amazingly, when I first published the name of my show, MANY people, men and women , assured me that I am a diva, in the ‘best way.'”
Bubbly Barb has generously donated her talents as actress and singer to my charity-fundraiser theatre company, Play Nice, portraying a 99-year-old circus owner, a hospitalized grandma with an obsession for music of the 1960s who named her daughter Monterey after the Monterey Pop Festival, and Old Mother Hubbard. She is also a pip to pop in on and chat, chat, chat, and makes a good lunch partner. In my company, whose raison d’etre is mixing the generations and working against ageism by doing so, she pals up with the kids and the adults and shows that age is no barrier to connections. I am grateful to her. So, I feel I know her too well to “review” her shows, but admire her talents (obviously) and want to help spread the news that she has a new show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre (under the West Bank Cafe on West 42 Street & Ninth Ave., aka Theatre Row). Catch her this Saturday, October 22 at 4 pm. Director is Sally Darling and musical director is Matthew Martin Ward.