Category Archives: Streisand

‘Funny Girl’ search gets serious

Courtesy of New York Post Fri., May. 6, 2011, 4:31 AM by Michael Riedel
It’s a role that can make — or break — a career.

But it’s almost impossible to cast.

Auditions are being held in New York and Los Angeles for the part of Fanny Brice in the upcoming Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.”

The role is legendary because it made a star of Barbra Streisand in 1964.

Almost 50 years later, Streisand’s still a tough act to follow, especially since her performance can be seen in all its musical-comedy glory in the 1968 movie.

Anytime an actress sings “People,” her voice is going to be compared to Streisand’s — and that’s not a comparison to be entered into lightly.

The revival, slated to open next winter, is being directed by Bart Sher, who won a Tony for his gorgeous production of “South Pacific” in 2008 but had an el floppo with this season’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

He’s met with several leading actresses, I’m told, but has yet to find this generation’s Streisand.

At one point, “Glee” star Lea Michele appeared to be the top choice. She even gave a public audition, of sorts, at last year’s Tonys, running down the aisle while belting out “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

It wasn’t her finest hour, and talk of starring in the show cooled the next day.

But she’s still in the running, and would certainly be a box-office draw.

Sher’s also met with Nicole Parker, of “MADtv.” She has impressed Broadway insiders as Elphaba in “Wicked.”

The very funny Leslie Kritzer, who won raves in “Funny Girl” at the Paper Mill Playhouse a few years ago, auditioned, though the fact that she’s not a star is an issue for the show’s backers.

On Broadway today, the consensus is that you can’t open a revival without a name.

I also hear that two of Sher’s favorite actresses — Laura Benanti and Kelli O’Hara — are possibilities.

The wonderful Benanti is up for a Tony this year for “Women on the Verge.” Fanny Brice was one of the greatest stage comediennes of all time, and Benanti proved she’s a gifted comedienne herself in “Verge.”

O’Hara certainly has the voice, the charm and the comic timing, as she demonstrated in “South Pacific.” But she might be miscast as Fanny Brice.

One thing’s for sure: All of the candidates are head and shoulders above Debbie Gibson, who starred in a 1996 national tour.

After seeing her performance in Philadelphia, a theater agent cracked: “They should just call it ‘Girl.’ ”

John Kander says he’s still “bewildered” as to why “The Scottsboro Boys,” the final show he wrote with the late Fred Ebb, lasted only a few weeks on Broadway.

But the 12 Tony nominations the show received this week — Best Musical among them — are a pretty good consolation prize.

“It means the show will have a life elsewhere,” says Kander. “And while I’m disappointed we didn’t run, I certainly don’t feel cheated.

“There is a parallel here,” he adds. “In 1968, the year Fred and I did ‘The Happy Time,’ we were considered the front runner for the Tony. The show we were up against — ‘Hallelujah, Baby!’ — had been closed for six months. When they called out the nominees for Best Musical, Fred and I leaned forward and buttoned our jackets. And they said, ‘Hallelujah, Baby!’ and we burst out laughing.

“It just goes to show you what can happen when you get cocky in this business.”

He’s going to the Tonys this year, but “I’m not buttoning my jacket.”

RIP Elizabeth Taylor

I think it made an unintentionally strong impression on my daughter when she was a little girl when I had long-argued with other people that Barbra Streisand was the most talented woman in the world, and Elizabeth Taylor was the most beautiful.  Of course it was not intended to take away from my obvious bias that my daughter is the most beautiful creature on the planet, but it probably hurt her feelings.  I found out through the grapevine that my daughter hated Liz for what I said, which reminded me of a scene between the father and daughter from What Dreams May Come.

My admiration for these two women for various reasons made the reposting of this article at this sad time apropos:

Streisand Remembers Her Friend Taylor

By Editors, Posted on March 23, 2011

Barbra Streisand calls the passing of her longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor “the end of an era.”

The two celebrated entertainers and outspoken activists were close friends for several decades and nearly costarred on Streisand’s 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces.

Streisand’s full statement: “It’s the end of an era. It wasn’t just her beauty or her stardom. It was her humanitarianism. She put a face on HIV/AIDS. She was funny. She was generous. She made her life count.”

Streisand and Bill Clinton

Barbra Streisand Presents President William Jefferson Clinton with Public Counsel’s William O. Douglas Award

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Repost from

In presenting Public Counsel’s William O. Douglas Award to President Clinton, Barbra Streisand made the following comments addressing the spirit of the award which is presented annually to the person “who best exemplifies the very highest ideals of human rights and equal justice for all.” Public Counsel has for forty years provided free legal assistance to those who need it most. The award was presented March 18 in Beverly Hills at a dinner which raised over $2.6 million for the organization’s pro bono efforts.

I’m here tonight because Public Counsel is celebrating 40 years of excellent work providing pro bono legal services to those who are most vulnerable. And I definitely couldn’t refuse an opportunity to speak about one of the most remarkable leaders of our generation, a great humanitarian—President Bill Clinton.

He entered the presidency in one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. The country was in a recession, the end of the Cold War had brought new threats to our national security, and our welfare system was in shambles.

As President, he expanded prosperity until it reached every corner of our country. He came in and balanced the budget, paid down the national debt, reformed welfare, raised the minimum wage, made college more affordable, invested in health care for children, created 22 million new jobs, left his successor with an unprecedented surplus, preserved our national forests, lowered wasteful government spending and cleaned up the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

Abroad, he brokered the Good Friday Peace Accord in Ireland and the Dayton Accord in Bosnia, ended ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, helped bring democracy to Haiti, and advanced peace initiatives in the Middle East.

While in the White House, President Clinton not only created opportunity for all Americans, but also encouraged all citizens to take responsibility to do their part. He relentlessly pursued policies based on these values, which resulted in concrete social progress and created a stronger America poised to take on the challenges of the 21st century.
It’s no wonder that President Clinton left the White House with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II.

He wins the hearts of political foes with his charm and razor-sharp intellect. He can reduce a crowded room to just you and him with his warmth and charisma. And he is able to inspire others to dream his big dreams about what is possible for our country and the world.

There are some politicians who are visionaries and see the big picture and others who focus only on the details of implementing policy. Bill Clinton has the very rare ability to do both. These qualities, along with his insatiable intellectual curiosity and phenomenal memory, are among his greatest political assets.

More than ten years after leaving the Oval Office, no one on either side of the aisle denies that Bill Clinton continues to shape the world we live in. His leadership stresses unity over division, policy over party, and hope over fear. He raised the bar for what it means to be a public servant and set new benchmarks for what a private citizen can accomplish to make the world a better place. He also has more energy and travels more miles than anyone I know—aside from maybe his brilliant wife.

His Clinton Foundation is the fastest growing NGO in the world. He has worked tirelessly to provide HIV/AIDS medication to the people of Africa, help victims in Indonesia rebuild after the tsunami and Haitians begin the process of reconstruction after the devastating earthquake decimated their country’s infrastructure. When the media spotlight waned, Bill Clinton was still standing with these people, reminding them that they will not be forgotten.

I am so proud to have partnered with him on his mission to use cutting-edge technology and collective buying collaboratives to help ameliorate global climate change. Only his brilliant diplomatic skills could have succeeded in bringing me and Rupert Murdoch together to help launch the Clinton Climate Change Initiative.

He does all this, and still has time to travel to North Korea to help secure the release of American journalists Euna Lee & Laura Ling, who are here tonight.

The pictures of these two young women reuniting with their families after being held in a North Korean jail for months reminded the country (and the world) of the power of Clinton diplomacy.

My continued friendship with him and his family, remain profoundly meaningful to me. In 1993, I sang at his inauguration. It was one of the greatest highlights of my career and it was also the night I met his late mother, Virginia, who became a loving surrogate mother to me. From the moment we met we had an immediate connection. We talked almost every week on the phone until she passed away, and to this day, she remains one of the most positive and encouraging influences in my life.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The son she produced is like her in many ways. Warm and compassionate, his laughter can lift the spirit of those around him. And like her, he is down to earth, great fun…and a hell of a card player.

I am inspired by the example that he sets for all of us, exhilarated by his ability to see what’s possible if we all rise to our greater selves, and encouraged by his dedication to help those most in need. Simply put…the world is a better place because President Bill Clinton is in it.

Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome this year’s recipient of the William O. Douglas Award, the 42nd President of the United States and my friend, President William Jefferson Clinton.

New man, new media to share

Introduced Bobby to “It’s Me or the Dog”, which taught me a lot about how to raise my puppy well.  He showed me some Monty Python, and in turn I showed him some Little Britain and Crank Yankers.  He is ready and willing to watch a lot of Streisand stuff to familiar himself with her.  His dad is a music teacher and a fan.  So far he’s gotten a good contrast of her by watching “Funny Girl” and “What’s Up Doc?”

Oscar Review

I predicted Mo’Nique would be the best supporting actress and Sandra Bullock would e the Best Actress.  I also predicted that Bigelow would be the first woman to win as best director, as so beautifully given by Barbra Streisand!

As I suspected, Elinor Burkett pulled a Kanye West at the Oscars last night; what a loser.

I was also glad to see an African-American writer win for best screen adaptation for Precious.

In a way I’m glad Avatar did not win best film because I’m finally seeing it tonight, and it would probably be too crazy at the theater if it won.  I don’t think science fiction films have ever really won best film, and pure commercial value (although they never adjust for ticket prices or inflation) does not mean Oscar win either.  More artistic movies, like Hurt Locker, are apt to win.  They needn’t be epic, and the timing and politics for it were right.

My friend Ed helped me BBQ last night and Alex and her friend Kaylea joined us for watching much of the Oscars and the subsequent Barbara Walters special with Mo’Nique, Bullock and a retrospective since Barbara says she is not going to do anymore of these types of shows.