VIDEOS: Barbra Streisand's Broadway! Part One: The 1960s
Barbra Streisand's "ENCORE: Movie Partners Sing Broadway" album will debut on August 26th, 2016, featuring 10 new Streisand duets of Broadway classics with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. The inspired new musical pairings on "ENCORE: Movie Partners Sing Broadway" include Alec Baldwin, Antonio Banderas, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Seth MacFarlane, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Pine, Daisy Ridley, Patrick Wilson, and a spectacular virtual duet with Anthony Newley.
In celebration of Barbra Streisand's commitment to singing and recording the great songs of Broadway, BroadwayWorld presents a six-part decade-by-decade video series sampling the legendary artist's performances of musical theatre classics.
Barbra Streisand's Broadway! Part One: The 1960s:
Having grown up in Brooklyn, ushered for Broadway's THE SOUND OF MUSIC and earned her early performing experience singing in Manhattan night spots like Bon Soir and the Blue Angel, it's only natural that the great songs of Broadway have always been an important part of the legendary Barbra Streisand's career.
Her television debut came in 1961, on an evening when Orson Bean was subbing for host Jack Paar on "The Tonight Show." She stunned the audience with Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's "A Sleepin' Bee," from their musical HOUSE OF FLOWERS. Two years later the song was featured on her first solo disc, "The Barbra Streisand Album."
But the first album she appeared on was a 1962 studio recording of Harold Rome's 1930s Broadway revue, PIN AND NEEDLES. The album featured her fun solos on satirical songs like "Doing The Reactionary" and "It's Not Cricket To Picket," but on one track in particular, "What Good Is Love?," displayed her depth as a soulful singing artist.
Conversely, her impeccable comic sense was highlighted in the musical's "Nobody Makes A Pass At Me," where she played an average young girl looking for love by following the advice of Madison Avenue.
It was Rome who was the composer/lyricist for Streisand's first Broadway musical, 1962's I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE. As comic relief in the drama about the Depression-era garment industry, she played an overworked secretary who wished her co-workers were a bit friendlier. She stopped the show and earned a Tony nomination for a second act comic solo written especially for her, "Miss Marmelstein."
Streisand was soon a television fixture and great Broadway songs became an important part of her standard repertoire. Here she sings Sigmund Romburg and Oscar Hammerstein's "Lover, Come Back To Me" from THE NEW MOON on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
Also in 1963 "The Second Barbra Streisand Album" included John Kander and Fred Ebb's haunting "I Don't Care Much," which, though not written especially for the show, was included in initial versions of CABARET. After the song was cut from the original production, it was later added for Broadway revivals.
Everything skyrocketed in 1964, of course, when Streisand opened as Fanny Brice in the original Broadway production of FUNNY GIRL. She would win an Oscar for the film version and also star in the 1969 movie of that Broadway season's other big hit, HELLO, DOLLY! Her album "People," released in 1964, was named after one of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's great FUNNY GIRL hits.
In 1965, Streisand's husband, Elliot Gould (who was the leading man of I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE), had a big ballad in his new Broadway musical, DRAT! THE CAT! called "She Touched Me." To help spark interest, Streisand recorded Ira Levin and Milton Schafer's song with just a slight lyric adjustment.
Also that year, "My Name Is Barbra" was the first of Streisand's five CBS television specials, each one then released as an album. The 1966 special, "Color Me Barbra," included this exquisite arrangement of Rodgers and Hart's "Where Or When."
Tomorrow: Barbra Streisand's Broadway! Part Two: The 1970s.