On Friday, cabaret and concert performer Roslyn Kind will celebrate a return engagement at Broadway supper club, 54 Below after her sold-out run there last year. Previously, Roslyn hadn’t appeared in New York for 20 years, but decided to bring her talent back to share with old and new fans alike, following “buzz” resulting from concert appearances with her half-sister, Barbra Streisand (and nephew Jason Gould) starting in 2012. In the show, “Rozzie” as she’s playfully called, will dust off favorite tunes from her two albums first released in 1969, as well as other career highlights, pop songs, show tunes and additional favorites.
Back in ‘60s and ‘70s, Kind was a frequent name on the circuit here in her hometown of New York City. Signed to RCA Records at the time, she made her debut at the Persian Room, and was known for shows at the Playboy Club, the Supper Club, and the Grand Finale, among others.
“I left New York… when the clubs like the Persian Room closed down,” Kind told Center On The Aisle’s editor-in-chief, Steve Schonberg. “I’ve really been based since then out of the west coast, and I’ve been traveling, touring to a lot of different cities—but I didn’t really come back to New York until last year.”
With the buzz generated in advance of her previous show at 54 Below, New York cabaret fans welcomed her back with open arms, just as that and an earlier generation had done decades ago.
Having become a performer at a very early age, practicing her talent while at the same time as older sister, “Babs” was wowing audiences and establishing herself as the next icon in Broadway and pop music, Kind explained that surprisingly music wasn’t a formal tradition in their home. “We would sing around the house, but my mother didn’t encourage us to go in to it,” she said. “She wanted us to find a nice husband, raise kids. But we did it [pursued performing] on our own.”
However, singing still shone through in their heritage (and continues to) even if Kind and her sister weren’t encouraged to pursue it, ultimately becoming their most recognized accomplishments.
“My grandfather was a cantor (Jewish singer who leads prayer in a synagogue) and my mother was a soprano (non-professionally), so we had that background,” she told Schonberg. “We would sing around the house but it was a profession that was kind of looked down upon by that generation. It wasn’t something you necessarily went into.”
Sisters or not, Kind faced, and continues to, a challenge in establishing herself as a performer while Streisand skyrocketed to fame. “I was the one who have to break out as unique because my sister did it first,” she admitted. And with similarities in their appearance and performing styles, comparisons are inevitable. Kind, however, takes them in stride, confident in her own talent. “Any similarities are genetic that’s just the way they are,” she said securely. “I tried different styles… event tried metal rock at one point but it wasn’t right. Even my sister said, ‘it isn’t you… it just isn’t you and the thing is, you’ve really got to be true to yourself. You can’t be anyone else. You’ve got to be you.”
If Streisand has a claim on the phrase “don’t rain on my parade,” the famous song by Jule Styne’s from the musical Funny Girl, Kind can have one from the Jesuits. “Show me a child until he is seven and I’ll show you the man,” she said. Meaning the way you are is the way you’ll be. Superficial similarities aside, Kind is her own unique talent and star, with the proof showing in the continued demand for her show.
Perhaps, like Streisand, Kind should also take on the role of Dolly Levy because, Roslyn, “it’s so nice to have you back where you belong.”
Roslyn Kind will appear at 54 Below on Friday, May 1, Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3. For information and tickets, visit www.54Below.com.