Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour
Barbra Streisand's 2006 concert tour grossed more than $92 million, according to Billboard Boxscore, setting house gross records in 14 of the 16 arenas it played. The tour was undertaken in large part to enable Ms. Streisand to direct many millions of dollars to The Streisand Foundation to fund urgent efforts in three areas, environmental (with special emphasis on addressing global warming,) education and women’s health issues.
"To do good things you need lots of money," Streisand told USA Today.
Eleven million dollars from the US and Canada tour were directed to The Streisand Foundation for charitable distribution. The first million dollar donation from these funds was a contribution to the William Jefferson Clinton Climate Change initiative, the lead contribution to that cause. Bringing to nearly $16,000,000 her charitable contributions from the tours, $5,000,000 from her European tour was conveyed to Cedar-Sinai Women’s Heart Center as an endowment funding the Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program.
Click on the links below; each city has its own page with photos, set lists, reviews and more...
- October 4th — Philadelphia
- October 6th — Columbus
- October 9th, 11th — New York
- October 13th — D.C.
- October 15th — Montreal
- October 17th & 20th — Toronto
- October 22nd — Boston
- October 24th — Minneapolis
- October 28th & 30th — Ft. Lauderdale
- November 2nd — Atlanta
- November 4th — Atlantic City
- November 7th & 9th — Chicago
- November 13th — San Jose
- November 16th — Phoenix
- November 18th — Las Vegas
- November 20th — Los Angeles
In March 2006, Barbra's manager, Marty Erlichman talked to the press about tour rumors. “A tour is being explored, but nothing has been finalized, including important aspects not entertained in the media speculation today,” he told Billboard.com. “As soon as this is resolved one way or the other — she may not go out — the facts will be announced.”
On June 12, 2006, a press release announced the tour:
It was announced today that the multi-platinum quartet, Il Divo will take the stage with Barbra Streisand as her special guest for her highly anticipated national tour set to kick off October 4th in Philadelphia at the Wachovia Center.
The tour will be presented by promoter Michael Cohl for Concert Productions International and The Next Adventure (A Live Nation Company).
“It's an incredible opportunity to work with Barbra Streisand certainly the greatest female performer of all time,” said Cohl. “This will be an amazing show. Don't miss it.” Martin Erlichman, Streisand's longtime manager, announced the tour last week citing her commitment to contribute to charitable organizations as her motivation to return to the stage. In a joint statement, Il Divo stated: “We believe the experience of working with Barbra Streisand — a truly legendary artist — will forever shape the way we approach our own singing and performing. Her voice and her music have profoundly influenced and inspired so many artists, including Il Divo, and we are thrilled to be sharing the stage with her.”
The show was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, who told BarbraNews: “I got a phone call from Marty saying that Barbra is thinking about doing some concert dates in 2006. She and I spoke on the phone and I asked, point blank, why she was considering this. She then told me about the money that could be made for The Streisand Foundation, etc. I immediately said, ‘I’m in.’ I also told her, ‘I will die if you do this without me’ …. I know … it’s dramatic, but, hey, I work in the theatre!”
"I open the show," Streisand explained to USA Today. "After all these years, I'm still the opening act."
On joining Il Divo for a few songs, Streisand quipped, "It's like having 'The Four Tenors' — but the four young, hot tenors. They're cute and they have beautiful voices. What more could you ask for?"
Barbra aslo described the new show as "more intimate, not as elaborate as I've done before. I have 58 musicians. But it's really about the singing. In listening to certain things from my past, I thought I could revisit them."
Q&A About the Tour; Transcribed from Barbra's Electronic Press Kit Video:
In preparing for this concert tour, did you find yourself listening to your old recordings?
I never listen to my old records. I had to, I was forced to, just to decide what I was gonna sing this time. Sometimes after not hearing things for 10, 20 years, I go, "The girl's good, the girl's pretty good." Sometimes I don't recognize my own voice. I was in a cab once going to Evergreen Studios in the Valley, and a girl came on the radio singing "Alfie." I thought why haven't I ever recorded that song, it sounded very good, really pretty. So I called the station to see who the girl was singing, and they said it was Barbra Streisand. Can you imagine that? A senior moment when I was quite young.
How is this show different from your past shows?
This show is quite different. It's really about the music, the music and me. It's much simpler. I don't have any pyrotechnics or trap doors (except one).
What made you decide to tour again?
Money for great charities that I believe in. There's so much to be done in the world today, certainly medical research for women, fighting against nuclear proliferation, global warming. So many good things to do in the world that I have to raise money. Just call me a charity slut.
You're touring with Il Divo as your special guest. How have you enjoyed working with them?
Oh, it's fun. I always look for ways to do the same thing differently. If I'm gonna sing "Happy Days" again, how can I do it differently? In this show, it's done as a duet, but I'm not gonna tell you with who yet. Il Divo sings "Evergreen," the song I wrote, with me, and they sound so beautiful on it, and it gives it another rich texture. It's lovely. And they're classical singers— the young hot stud tenors. It's fun working with them. And "Somewhere" has a whole other sound to it too with them. I'm always the opening act, I tell you. I open the show, and then Il Divo comes in while I get a bite to eat and take my shoes off. So they're (Il Divo) not the opening act; come early!
What songs can we expect to hear from you this time around?
This time, I'm singing a lot of songs I haven't sung for a long time, like "When the Sun Comes Out," which I haven't sung since 1967. "Down With Love" since 1963. And some new songs, which I've never sung before that I love.
What do you enjoy most about performing for a live audience?
I come from the theater, so that was always a live experience. Every audience was different. Wednesday matinees were completely different than Wednesday nights.
What are your thoughts about playing Chicago?
I haven't been back to Chicago since I played at Mr. Kelly's in 1963, so I can't wait to play in Chicago. I did shoot the cover of the People album down here, because I was looking at the sunrise and said, "Take the shot from the back." I said, "Let's use that picture as the cover," and the record company said, "Are you crazy? Why wouldn't you want to show your face? Why your back? And I said, "It seemed so interesting, people will want to see." After fighting with me about that cover, it won a Grammy for best record cover.
I'm really looking forward to playing New York. They are the greatest audience, me, because I'm basically a New Yorker.
I love Washington, D.C. I love the people, I love the politicians, I love defending, arguing. I love historic places, architecture, the sense of history, age, timelessness.
It'll be fun to play Phoenix again, because I haven't been back there since we previewed A Star Is Born, forgot the year. 1975 or something like that.
I always had relatives in Miami. My cousin Harvey still lives there. I look forward to seeing him and going back there again. I think I played there early on in my career — the Eden Roc in 1963?
I like San Jose. It's near a lot of wonderful places. Interesting people up there, artist colonies, so interesting people come. I played there in 1963 and again in 1994. I remember it being a good experience. I have a lot of friends around there, so they'll all come see me.
I did play Atlanta when I was pregnant with my son Jason. It was raining that night. I remember I went out on stage with a yellow slicker. Almost got electrocuted, but survived. You also have great restaurants in Atlanta, so I will be looking forward to visiting.
I hear you got a great new stadium. Ohio is a very important state to play.
Because it's my home now, I look forward to playing Los Angeles, so I can go back to my delicious home and a new house I'm building now on the ocean. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed.
Putting It Together...
Streisand started rehearsals for her tour in mid-August 2006. Ticket sales were brisk for the tour, except the Oct. 18th Detroit show, which was canceled. “We apologize to the dedicated Barbra Streisand fans in Detroit who had purchased tickets, but it was impossible not to accommodate the extraordinary demand in Toronto,” said Michael Cohl of Concert Productions International. “… We are truly sorry for any inconvenience.”
“There were some mantras that drove this show,” Richard Jay-Alexander explained. “Like ‘the truth’... and we weren't going to consider songs that she doesn't really feel strongly about or that she didn’t want to sing ... We really laughed a lot putting the show together. We also sang a lot of songs that didn’t make it in and Barbra, Bill [Ross], Marty [Erlichman], Jay [Landers], Randy [Waldman, Barbra's pianist], me and Jeff [Richman] were constantly amazed at how she would ‘zero in’ on and edit, cut, improve and help to shape what eventually became the ‘template’ of the show.”
Jeffrey Richman wrote for the tour. “I wrote Barbra Streisand’s tour dialogue and I worked with her on stuff she would say and it would have to sound like Barbra,” he said.
Barbra's song selection changed during rehearsals. For instance, on August 22, 2006—more than one month before opening night—this was Barbra's set list for the show:
- Funny Girl Overture
- Starting Here, Starting Now
- Down With Love
- The Way We Were
- Come Rain Or Come Shine
- Ma Premiere Chanson
- I Finally Found Someone (acoustic guitar ballad; then with orchestra)
- Evergreen (with Il Divo)
- Il Divo set: Senza Catene; Passera; Regresa Mi; Si Tu Me Amas; My Way
- Music of the Night
- Don't Rain On My Parade (with dialogue in middle; slower ending segued into....)
- Funny Girl
- The Music That Makes Me Dance
- My Man
- Where Or When
- When The Sun Comes Out
- Jason's Song/Carefully Taught/Children Will Listen
- Unusual Way
- Gentle Rain
- What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
- Get Happy/Happy Days
- Woman In The Moon
- Too Long At The Fair
- Somewhere (with Il Divo)
- My Shining Hour
- Cockeyed Optimist
- Don't Rain On My Parade (epilogue)
Other songs which were considered, possibly for encores:
- On A Clear Day
- Stoney End
- Love Is A Bore
As opening night in Philadelphia (October 4, 2006) approached, Streisand and crew rehearsed for four days at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey.
Broadway singer Liz Callaway was hired as Streisand's stand-in. “[Richard Jay-Alexander] asked me what I was doing for the next week and a half, because Barbra Streisand was looking for someone who could learn the music and be ready to jump in and perform at any moment during rehearsals,” Callaway told the Chicago Sun-Times.
It worked like this: Streisand would be onstage singing and need to go out into the house to check on lighting or technical details for the show. Callaway would pick up singing the song where Streisand left off so that they could see her onstage.
“I had very little contact with her, but when I did, she was so warm and down to earth,” Liz Callaway said. “I am so happy to have had this opportunity, I think I'm going to keep my backstage credentials forever.”
Invited Dress, Oct. 3, 2006
Friends and family members of Streisand's orchestra, along with celebrities like Donna Karan, director Rob Marshall, and Liz Callaway attended Barbra's dress rehearsal on a Saturday night at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On that night, Streisand performed a set list that was almost like what she sang on tour ... at her dress rehearsal she sang “I Finally Found Someone”; “Music of the Night” was still in Act One; and “Don't Rain on My Parade” was still in. Streisand opened Act Two with “Where or When”; she sang “When the Sun Comes Out” after the George Bush skit and “Happy Days”; and “Gentle Rain” came after “Unusual Way” (Barbra would finally record “Rain” 3 years later for Love is the Answer). “Woman in the Moon” was still in, too.
Streisand Set Design
Jeremy Railton talked about his stage design for Streisand's 2006 tour: “As I started my initial design exercises for this tour, it became obvious to me that this show, more than all the others, was about designing for the sound,” Railton said. “This, after all, was Barbra Streisand, with multi-Platinum quartet Il Divo as special guest, and a 52-piece orchestra of hand-picked musicians conducted and arranged by William Ross. This was not the show for elaborate decorative elements, huge LED screens, or drawbridges, but a show that had to move from city to city, in halls with sometimes less-than-adequate acoustic properties and yet truly reflect the genius of our artists.
“To add to the audio and visual challenge,” Railton continued, “ the show would play in the round in some venues and in 270° configurations in others. Another overriding design obligation was to provide a comfortable home for the huge orchestra and ensure that our single artist would not be lost in a visual sea of musical instruments. She had to be able to visit different sides of the arena yet remain in eye contact with her conductor, and at all times, she had to be able to feel and be in contact with her musicians and her audience.”
“Ultimately,” Railton stated, “the stage became a series of ramps surrounding a sunken orchestra. I put small Juliet stages on all sides, creating intimate visiting spots with a table, a vase of flowers, and a pot of tea, which allowed for each side of the audience to receive a visit from our beloved diva.”
Press about the Tour
[Entertainment Weekly Illustration by Kirsten Ulve]
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