The “Greatest Star” Returns Home in Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn on Great Performances Friday, November 29, 2013 at 9 p.m. as Part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival
The legendary singer is joined by Chris Botti, Il Volo, and son Jason Gould for two hours of hits, including nine songs she has never performed on a concert stage.
“I love people from Brooklyn. Because they’re real. Down to earth. They tell it like it is.” So Barbra Streisand informs an adoring audience at the opening of her heralded hometown return at the brand new 19,000-seat, billion-dollar Barclays Center. Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, November 29 at 9 p.m. as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival (check local listings).
Mixing her trademark classics with rarer older material and selections from her more recent albums, Streisand, in her first concert appearance in six years, and backed by a 60-piece orchestra led by William Ross, keeps the capacity house enthralled. In all, she sings 27 songs, nine of which she never before performed live, and three which she sings in different ways; that is, either with different arrangements or with newly composed lyrics.
Streisand masterfully holds the stage for two hours, joined by special guests Il Volo, trumpeter Chris Botti, and (making it a true family affair) son Jason Gould, who thrilled the audience singing solo and in a duet with his mother.
Elegantly gowned by Donna Karan, she plays to those in front, to the sides, and behind her. Some had flown halfway around the world to see this iconic and beloved performer in person. Utterly at ease, Streisand chats with the audience as casually as if they were in her living room.
The songs are framed by multi-faceted video montages of Streisand’s childhood and early career. Her alma mater Erasmus High School, the Loews Kings Theatre, the Dodgers, her yeshiva, Brighton Beach and Brooklyn Heights all figure in her reminiscences. The superstar left her fourth-floor apartment at 3102 Newkirk Avenue (one of three residences at which she lived as a child) when she was 16 to pursue her acting career, and the rest is history. She joked that “the last time…(she) sang in Brooklyn was on a stoop on Pulaski Street.”
Specially adapted lyrics to “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and “You’re the Top” pay humorous homage to the borough.
Among the vocal highlights is a medley of Jule Styne show tunes. Styne wrote the music to Streisand’s Broadway and Hollywood megahit “Funny Girl.” In that medley, Streisand also gives us a tantalizing glimpse of what her Mama Rose might sound like if she proceeds with her hoped-for remake of Styne and Sondheim’s “Gypsy.”
Throughout the concert, she sings selections from every stage of her career, including “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” (which she sang during her memorable appearance on “The Judy Garland Show” in 1963); “Enough is Enough (No More Tears)” (her disco hit with the late Donna Summer); “My Funny Valentine” (from her 1967 album “Simply Streisand”); and “The Way We Were” (in loving tribute to Marvin Hamlisch who unexpectedly passed away in August 2012).
And then there are songs from her more recent albums like “Nice ‘N’ Easy,” “That Face,” “Some Other Time,” and “Here’s to Life.”
The concert also includes “Make Our Garden Grow” from Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” a song she recorded for an unreleased Broadway album in 1988. Here, she’s backed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
Her two nights in Brooklyn were followed by a national tour which included Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, Las Vegas, San Jose, and Los Angeles, continuing on to Europe in 2013, with stops in London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, and Tel Aviv, where she was greeted by more devoted crowds and critical accolades.
Critics all over the world were unanimous in praise of Streisand. Stephen Holden in The New York Times observed, “Like few singers of any age, she has the gift of conveying a primal human longing in a beautiful sound.” Charles McNulty of The Los Angeles Times wrote that her performance provided “a chance to spend quality time with a legend and enjoy the sights and sounds of her alternate reality.” And Bernard Perusse of The Montreal Gazette observed, “Streisand has always done it with elegance and a peerless voice. She is truly, it seems, the last of her kind.”
The full musical program follows:
As If I Never Said Goodbye (with special lyrics)
Nice N Easy / That Face
The Way He Makes Me Feel*
Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered
Smile (with Il Volo)
Sam, You Made The Pants Too Long*
No More Tears (Enough is Enough)*
The Way We Were/Through The Eyes of Love
Being Good Isn’t Good Enough*
“Gypsy” medley: Rose’s Turn/Some People*
Don’t Rain On My Parade
You’re The Top (Brooklyn Version)
What’ll I Do* / My Funny Valentine (with Chris Botti)
Lost Inside of You* (with Chris Botti)
Evergreen (with Chris Botti)
Nature Boy (Jason Gould)
How Deep Is the Ocean* (with Jason Gould)
Here’s To Life
Make Our Garden Grow* (with Chris Botti, Il Volo, Jason Gould, & the Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
Some Other Time
Happy Days Are Here Again
*live performance premiere
Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn will be available on CD and DVD from Columbia Records.
Directed for television by Scott Lochmus, the program is produced by Lochmus and Eileen Bernstein, with Barbra Streisand and Marty Erlichman as executive producers. The concert performance is directed by Barbra Streisand and Richard Jay-Alexander, and written by Barbra Streisand, Jay Landers, Richard Jay-Alexander and Jeffrey Richman. William Ross is music director.
Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Over the course of its four decades, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn is a co-production of the Jack My Dog Corporation and THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Starr Foundation, the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, public television viewers and PBS.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the PBS Arts Fall Festival
As part of its commitment to increase every American’s access to — and participation in — the arts, PBS kicks off the multiplatform PBS Arts Fall Festival on Friday, October 18, 2013, hosted by award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith. Anchored by broadcasts every Friday night and a range of related online content, the Fall Festival features artists and performances from across the country, comprised of full-length performances, behind-the-scenes interviews, and artist and performer profiles.