BWW Reviews: Ann Hampton Callaway Sings Streisand Songbook with Baltimore Symphony
If you were in attendance to see Ann Hampton Callaway perform her STREISAND SONGBOOK, you certainly got your money's worth and more. Not only did she perform before intermission and a long set after intermission, we were treated to an encore in the Meyerhoff lobby for four more songs. She must really love to perform and that is totally understandable.
BSO Pops Conductor Jack Everly welcomed the audience to the first Pops concert of the 2013-14 season. He began the evening with "A Tribute to Irving Berlin", a 22 song salute which included numbers such as "God Bless America", "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Puttin' on the Ritz", "I'm in Heaven", and "There's No Business Like Show Business".
Since the Baltimore Marathon was run that morning, he asked if there were any runners present and sure enough, sitting right in back of me, was Karen Shrager from Lutherville, MD who ran the half-marathon with her husband Todd.
Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" was given a fabulous rendition.
The Pops orchestra then performed the Overture to the film FUNNY GIRL in a wonderful arrangement by George Spencer.
Callaway then took the stage with "Hello Gorgeous". She mentioned she saw Streisand perform at a very young age. She added, "She inspired me, I would dream about her, I got to know her and even write songs for her."
She opened the program with a tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch (former BSO Pops Director) with "Evergreen" from the film "The Way We Were" in a really slow tempo which featured a bittersweet ending.
She told the story about how she wrote a wedding song sung by Streisand at her wedding to James Brolin. She took a melody by a Norwegian composer and added lyrics which Streisand loved. What a gorgeous song "I Dreamed of You" is.
It was at this time I thought the BSO could have used visuals throughout the evening to enhance the enjoyment. Here, there could have been shots of the wedding. There could also have been photos of Berlin, Porter, and Hamlisch.
She finished her 25 minute Act I performance with "Don't Rain on My Parade" to thunderous applause.
Act II last about an hour. David Shire's "Starting Here, Starting Now" opened the second half of the show. Callaway then sang her own lovely song "At the Same Time" which Streisand recorded.
In 1976, Streisand recorded her "Classical Album" and at the request of Maestro Everly, Callaway sang a number from that album entitled "Brezairola" sung in the ancient language of Occiton from the Auvergne region of France.
The hit song "Evergreen" from the film "A Star Is Born" (written by Streisand and Paul Williams) was a huge hit. She mentioned it won a Golden Globe, an Emmy and an Oscar.
Everyone knew "People" was coming and Callaway was magnificent. Hard to believe according to author Ethan Mordden in his book "Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theater", this number was almost cut from FUNNY GIRL. Callaway coupled the number with Stephen Sondheim's classic "Being Alive" from COMPANY. The BSO's Charlie Young on saxophone was given the spotlight.
Callaway then used the audience to help her write a new song which was absolutely hilarious.
Thankfully she sang a song from "Yentl", "I've Dreamed of You". It was goose-bump city.
The concert ended with "On a Clear Day" and "Happy Days Are Here Again".
But...the concert wasn't over yet.
In the Meyerhoff lobby was Conductor Everly at the piano and Callaway did four more numbers. It was amazing being so close to her as she sang. She began with a gorgeous "Over the Rainbow". She then sang the song that was the most sung song in her home, Gershwin's "Our Love is Here to Stay". She invited the audience to sing along.
Callaway then went to the piano to sing Carol Kane's "You've Got a Friend". She finished with a song she sang in Tony nominated role in the musical SWING.