Army Archerd Column

January 3, 1994

Barbra's Grand stand gives rise to tour talk

No question about it, Barbra Streisand made a triumphant return to the live arena with her two-niter at the billion-$ MGM Grand. Will she continue with live performances? Will she tape her show for TViewing? She answered both questions for me at the New Year's Eve party in her suite at the hotel following her first night's outing.

First of all, she admitted, "I said to myself on the plane coming up here, 'What have I done? What am I doing?' " She was admittedly scared. But as the show went on and the cheers and shrieks from fans in the 13,000 Grand Garden increased, her fright faded and her enjoyment started. So, when I asked her, "Will you tour?" she answered, "A few cities." What about taping the show? "I might do it in New York," she answered. Radio City Music Hall — Madison Square Garden? — to be seen. Meanwhile, there was no question she was even happier the second night (Saturday). "I think I even enjoyed myself," she said. At the close of Friday night's show she exclaimed, "I did it! I did it!" The first night was like New Haven — out of town — and the second was ... Broadway ... Although she canceled the proposed pay-per-view/or HBO taping Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the same number (10) of cameras chronicled her every move and note — by producers Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion — on both nights. Further , Barbra, looking great (minus eight pounds in preparing the show!), has her own crew taping backstage — her rehearsal, everything involved with readying her Las Vegas return after 22 years. (I saw the last one at the Hilton here — and whatta difference 22 years makes!) ... Incidentally, Smith and Hemion agreed with Streisand in her decision to cancel the mechanics needed for the kind of TV'er she'd approved. The cranes, the lighting, the cameras moving about would have distracted her — and the audience. "She knows what she wants — no compromise," said Smith, "and she was right." But he, too, had "a hunch" she would continue to tour the show. "She had a great time," he added. The jettisoning of the "official" taping cost Streisand about a million-$ — she paid for the entire company of 350 to tape it, anyway. They all returned by chartered plane Sunday morning, by the way. What's on the immediate agenda for Streisand? Developing the two scripts she wants to put before the cameras soon; "The Mirror Has Two Faces," which she'll direct and star in at TriStar, and "The Normal Heart," which she will direct at Columbia.

BOTH BARBRA'S AND MARTY ERLICHMAN'S suites on the 29th floor of Kirk Kerkorian's Vegas extravaganza were filled with friends, both on New Year's Eve after the first concert and on Saturday night after the second. Streisand spent much time talking with her mother and President Clinton's mom, Virginia Clinton Kelley. Also son Jason, former husband Elliott Gould, sister Rosalind Kind, Christine and Jon Peters and Caliegh Peters, Barbra's goddaughter, who was inspiration for a segment of the show. Also there: Andre Agassi, Peter Weller, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Jay Leno, Diandra and Michael Douglas, the Gregory Pecks, Barney Rosenzweig and wife Sharon Gless (he's a longtime Streisandfan — he drove up), Lorraine and David Gerber, CAA's Michael Ovitz and Fred Specktor, Sydney Pollack, Michael Feinstein, Peter Bogdanovich, Kenny Solms , Gareth Wigan and Pat Newcomb. Also Bella Abzug, Stanley Sheinbaum and Coretta Scott King. The Aaron Spellings and the Frank Mancusos were in similar penthouse suites. Alan and Marilyn Bergman, who wrote the show, ditto conductor Marvin Hamlisch and his wife. And Quincy Jones and Nastassja Kinski, the David Fosters, Barbara Bach, Barbara Lazaroff and Wolfgang Puck, who have a restaurant in the Grand, were on hand for the second show, as was Berry Gordy. And "SNL's" Mike Myers, with his wife -- he said it was "awesome to be on stage with Streisand!"


Related: Barbra's 1994 Concert Page