Brooklyn-born Barbra Streisand said to play Barclays Center; concerts would be first big performances in NYC since 2006
|Image from BarbraStreisand.com|
On April 26, Borough President Marty Markowitz, nearly bursting with anticipation, floated a hint, suggesting at a press conference that "the best is yet to come."
The next day, City Council Member Letitia James was more specific, dropping an aside at a public meeting: "Barbra Streisand has a couple of days" at the arena. (James wouldn't comment further.)
I sent a query to Streisand's spokesman Dick Guttman but didn't hear back. However, I had the news confirmed by multiple sources who wouldn't speak for attribution. Arena promoters likely have been holding the Babs-back-to-Brooklyn news for a big media splash.
No road warrior
The multi-hyphenate Streisand--singer/actress/director/producer/composer--is by no means a road warrior. She's sold 71 million albums since her 1963 debut, but performed only sporadically from the early 1970s until a 1994 concert tour.
According to the unofficial site Barbra Archives, Streisand last performed in New York City in September 2009--in a one-off at the tiny jazz club Village Vanguard club (Times review). Her last local arena performances, easily sold out, were at Madison Square Garden in October 2006 (Times review). Her 2006-07 tour of North America and Europe reaped nearly $120 million.
Streisand turned 70 on April 24. Last September, she released "What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan & Marilyn Bergman," which features ten Bergman songs she had never previously recorded. It debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200.
As her official biography notes, Streisand is the only singer to have number one albums in five consecutive decades. The only performer with more Gold albums? Elvis.
Back to Brooklyn
Given the legions who consider Streisand "like buttah," her return to Brooklyn surely will sell out the 19,000-seat (for concerts) arena. Fans have to wonder: will Streisand give a shout-out to her alma mater, Erasmus Hall High School, which spawned numerous famed alumni and has since been reconstituted into five schools?
And if Streisand won't sing at a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, which she did in 2008, will she use her platform to promote his re-election?
How much of the take will the cause-oriented singer donate to the Streisand Foundation, which supports such nonprofits as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Human Rights Campaign, and Center for Public Integrity?
The quest for integrity and truth
The latter organization, by the way, which focuses on investigative and accountability reporting, might find some fodder in the very building hosting Streisand. Indeed, the signature quote on Streisand's Twitter account comes from the performer herself:
"Art does not exist only to entertain -- but also to challenge one to think, to provoke, even to disturb, in a constant search for the truth."The "search for the truth" might reveal a shiny new venue that's a much better deal for the developer than for the public.