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WHEN HE LOOKS LIKE JUDY AND SINGS LIKE BARBRA, JIM BAILEY CREATES ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR - By Rita Rose (taken from The Indianapolis Star)
INDIANAPOLIS - Is Jim Bailey a female impersonator? An impressionist? A drag queen? How about a cross-dresser? None of the above, he says. I am an illusionist. That he is. Those who have seen him perform are convinced that Barbra Striesand is back on tour and that Judy Garland has returned from over the rainbow. When Bailey takes the stage as those entertainersas well as Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Phyllis Dillerhe becomes them.
What I do is totally different . . . Im the only person who does what I do, that I know of, Bailey explains by phone from his California home. Im a singer, an actor and a character actor. When I do a piece of these ladies lives, its not camp or satire. Its as if youre actually seeing the people because I act and sing and talk as them. Its an illusion. So when Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre presents Streisand on Monday and Garland on Tuesday, youll know that Bailey is, well, putting a lot of himself into the show. He even does his own makeup a three-hour process that transforms him into the diva du jour.
Bailey, a singer and comedian who has performed in New Yorks Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium and the top casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, used to close his female shows as himself, but decided instead to do long concert imitations. I would just reach my peak (as that performer), then Id have to stop, leave the stage and come back as myself. This way, I can reach the peak and go on from there and do a whole evening of the character. Its a complete concert show.
A tenor with an operatic background from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, Baileys ability to sing various types of music enables him to tap into the differences of what he call the ladies.