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Interview with Christina Bianco

10 May 2015 Imogen Greenberg

Christina Bianco is returning to London with her new show Party of One at the Hippodrome Casino. She chats to London Calling about why this show is a little different from the norm.

Christina Bianco is an actress and singer, known for her incredible singing impressions. From shows like Forbidden Broadway to YouTube, her impressions have taken her around the world. You can currently catch Christina in her new show Party of One at the Hippodrome. London Calling spoke to her about why this show is a little different…

London Calling: Welcome back to London!

Christina Bianco: This sounds really clichéd, but I’m cold, with a cup of hot tea in front of me. So I’m jumping in to all things London!

LC: So, for the uninitiated, what can you tell us about your new show Party of One.

CB: I’ll start off by telling you what it isn’t! My first solo show was called Diva Moments, and it was about all of the divas and all of the voices that I do. It was honouring the great divas. This show is really about me. And the audience and what led me to them.

The number one question I’m asked is when and how I started doing impressions, and this show really answers that question, hopefully in a very fun and entertaining way. I really feel it’s a party!

The show will take you through my crazy upbringing in New York, my singing, everything! Mimicking all of my friends, family and teachers growing up. I never really realised I was impersonating them until much later. So, it’s about the crazy places that my career and my life took me that led me to become this ‘Party of One’.

It’s definitely a wacky story. I’m very much the sarcastic, self-deprecating New Yorker, so there’s a lot of that. Then of course there’s a lot of singing and speaking impressions, music of every genre, a little bit of comedy, and I might bust a move or two, we’ll see what happens.

LC: Your new sitcom Impress Me is about a group of impressionists. What’s it really like when you get together? Is it mayhem to have a ‘normal’ conversation with each other?

CB: Here’s the honest truth. There are a few people who love to do impressions constantly, and the other impressionists in the room do sort of roll their eyes!

LC: The premise of the show is about the difference between impressions and acting. Is that a real stigma?

CB: It certainly is. It’s funny, at the time I was approached to be part of the show, I was going through that myself.

I worked as an actor and a singer for years and I never did impressions until about 6 years ago. Then I was in Forbidden Broadway in New York, and all of a sudden I was known for that. I happened to get reviewed well for doing that and then I was asked to go and perform impressions.

I had to find a balance of how to do the impressions that people want to see and that I enjoy doing, but also remind them that there’s more to me than that. My new show Party of One is evenly split between my own voice and also doing impressions.

So far it’s worked really well. I’m really grateful to my fans here and elsewhere round the world who say “Great impression, I loved that one, but I’d love to hear you sing it in your own voice!” That’s really heart warming, particularly when the videos that have gone viral are predominantly impressions.

 

LC: It must be a very odd thing to ‘go viral’...

CB: It’s incredibly odd! I have no idea what makes one video go viral and one video just sit there. It’s a bit of timing, a bit of luck. I don’t know how it happens, but I know that you never know what’s going to happen when you hit that button. That’s what’s so fascinating about YouTube and the Internet today.

LC: But you love being on stage best?

CB: I’m most excited when I get to perform live. And it shows! The videos that have happened to go viral have been my live performances in front of an audience. I just love it! I grew up doing theatre from a very young age. I always had a love for cabaret and concerts, a performer engaging with a live audience and seeing how it changes every night. That’s really exciting to me. When I get to create my own shows that’s exciting on a whole other level.

LC: I’ve heard that you’re a big fan of British comedy. What is it that draws you to British comedy?

CB: That’s a very good question. There are layers to British comedy that I really enjoy. As a kid, I watched very broad comedy like Absolutely Fabulous, and very intellectual comedy like A Bit of Fry and Laurie, probably much sooner than I should have! I’d watch them as a kid and take something away from it. Then I’d watch it when I was a little older, and I’d take more away from it. I think it’s very smart humour and there’s something for everybody. I revisit it and I think it’s still funny, and funny in different ways.

LC: Lastly, do you have a favourite spot in London?

CB: I love Cecil Court, the lovely rare books alley off Charing Cross Road. I love books and rare books. If I had all the money in the world, I’d spend it on travel and I would travel around going to the oldest bookstores and the oldest libraries. There is a part of me that wishes I just had a pen and paper and could send messages via carrier pigeon to people. Technology and me don’t always get along so well, so I love stepping back in time. That’s one of my favourite places to go!


You can see Christina in Party of One at the Hippodrome Casino from the 14 – 24th May. For more information and to book tickets please click here.

To win tickets to see Party of One at the Hippodrome Casino, enter our competition here.
 

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