Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour

Barbra's note in the program

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. 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.

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The Tour

Click on the links below; each city has its own page with photos, set lists, reviews and more...

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!”

(Below Left: The North American tour program; Below Right: The European tour program)

North American and European concert programs

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:

Concert Credits

  • Produced by: Barbra Streisand
  • Executive Producer: Marty Erlichman
  • Production Directed by: Barbra Streisand & Richard Jay-Alexander
  • Music Director: William Ross
  • Written by: Barbra Streisand, Jeffrey Richman, Jay Landers, & Richard Jay-Alexander
  • Music Supervisor: Jay Landers
  • Tour Manager: Marty Hom
  • Production Manager: Mike Weiss
  • Stage Designer: Jeremy Railton
  • Sound Designer: Bruce Jackson
  • Lighting Designer: Peter Morse
  • Supervising Producer: J.J. Erlichman
  • Road Manager: Bobby Herr
  • Assistant to Ms. Streisand: Kim Skalecki
  • Personal Assistant to Ms. Streisand and Samantha Brolin: Renata Buser
  • Martin Erlichman Associates: J-Me Diamond & Clara Martinez
  • Ms. Streisand's Wardrobe Designed by: Barbra Streisand & Donna Karan
  • Hair Stylist to Ms. Streisand: Soonie Paik
  • Dresser to Ms. Streisand: Kendall Errair
  • Wardrobe: Brendon Cooper, Jill Prewitt

Act I

Act II

Other songs which were considered, possibly for encores:

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

(Photo, below): Stage design for Streisand's tour by Jeremy Railton and Entertainment Design Corporation.

stage 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.

Artist rendering of Streisand concert stage

“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.”

streisand set design examples

“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

“People, People Who Love Barbra” (17 November 2006)

Entertainment Weekly

Oct. 9th: Streisand Concert Tour Off to Record Start

Nov. 27th: Streisand Tour Breaks 14 Venue Records

 

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