Liza Sings Streisand: Lichfield Festival Review
Liza Sings Streisand, which was performed at the Lichfield Garrick on Sunday 8 July, opens with a brief narrative which provides a bit of background about one of the best female singers of all time. The splendid six-piece backing band, Stardust Ensemble, then deliver a short orchestral medley of some of Streisand’s biggest hits, before Liza walks on stage for the first time in a stunning white outfit that fully shows off her suntan. She opens up in style with her rendition of ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ and then follows up with the Carole King classic, ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, which featured on Streisand’s 1971 album, Barbra Jones Streisand.
Much of the entertaining show is filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes about Streisand’s life and career, intermingled with a string of great numbers all impeccably sung by Liza, who made light of a long-standing sinus problem. Some of the songs matched major milestones or turning points in Streisand’s career, such as ‘Miss Marmelstein’, the only thing she sang in the little-known 1962 show ‘I Can Get It For You Wholesale’, but which became its most popular number due to her performance. There is also the story behind ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?’, which Streisand chose as her audition for a slot at a prestige nightclub, and ‘Sleeping Bee’, the first song she sang on television at the age of 21. But one of the most amazing anecdotes is that Liza’s actress mother Barbara Young actually met Streisand when she auditioned for the part of her mother in the 1983 film Yentl, which Streisand also directed, co-wrote and co-produced. Although she didn’t get the role, Streisand still sent her a hand-written note.
From Yentl itself Streisand gave the audience ‘The Way He Makes Me Feel’, while other offerings ranged from the comic, such as ‘Sam You Made The Pants Too Long’, to other movie numbers including the fabulous Oscar-winning ‘Evergreen’ from the 1976 film A Star Is Born. Additional memorable numbers included ‘The Way We Were’, which was a huge hit in 1973, and ‘Second Hand Rose’ which was taken from Funny Girl about the life of Fanny Brice, one of only two Broadway shows she apparently starred in. Clearly Liza, who in 2017 released two songs from her Streisand show, “The Way We Were” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, was born to play her.
Rating: 5 out of 5