Those who know Barbara Rayliss hope that is not the case

Barbara Rayliss, Idyllwild’s own diva, performs her one-woman show.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Musician, singer and actor Barbara Rayliss said she has done everything in her life that she has wanted to do but one — perform her own, one-woman show. And although she is calling her upcoming show her last hurrah, those who know her as a woman of warmth, humor and astonishing talent hope that is not the case.

Great divas often cap their careers with solo shows to tell their personal stories in songs, narratives, and humorous and revealing asides. The list of great female performers, of magnificent divas who stamped pop culture with their talent and outsize personalities is long — Billie Holiday, Julie London, Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, Barbra Streisand, and Bernadette Peters, to name a few. And many who attended those magical performances remember them the rest of their lives.

In “Here and Now, and a Glance at the Past,” Rayliss will involve her audience in a deeply personal musical journey delightfully demonstrating that she can belt, caress and deliver a song, elicit laughs and tears, and stylishly wear boas and wigs with the best of them.

With a broad range of music, including Broadway show stoppers, pop standards, torch songs and personal anthems, “Here and Now” will be a performance to remember. Barbara will sing songs identified with many iconic females: “The Witch’s Rap” from Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” first sung by Bernadette Peters on Broadway; “Ladies Who Lunch,” from Sondheim’s “Company,” indelibly identified with Elaine Stritch; “Cry Me a River,” Julie London; and “God Bless the Child,” Billie Holiday. “Here and Now” will feature songs that are sweet, salty, savory and sad — something for everyone from a life lived fully.

And although Barbara is not one who demands the spotlight, any who have seen her perform know that she deserves the spotlight. “I’ve wanted to do this since I saw a video of Streisand singing in a little club — the intimacy of it, the connection with her audience.

“I remember Oprah saying that if you really want to be happy, you have to find your mission, something you are supposed to do. I taught school for 25 years. I believed in what I was doing as a form of service. And I feel the same about music. I’ve been in Idyllwild for 13 years and I’ve been involved in local shows and groups. But when I asked the question [of the universe] what I was supposed to be doing now, the answer was ‘this show.’”

For Barbara, the show will be a giving back, a different form of service to the community she loves. “I’ll be sharing things about my life that I normally don’t talk about, and it will be fun, with great musicians and in an intimate setting — doing the music that I love and showtunes I’ve never had a chance to do.”

Joining Barbara are arranger John Rodby on piano, bass players (at alternate performances) David Enos and Marshall Hawkins, and a special guest drummer.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and 2 p.m. Sunday Oct. 21, at 25632 Sunrise Drive, Pine Cove. Tickets are $20 cash at the door. Seating is limited and must be reserved by telephone at 951-659-2434 and 951-255-8340.