Arie Crown Theatre
November 29—30, 1963
Barbra Streisand began a series of one-night gigs in Chicago at the Arie Crown Theatre—with 5,000-plus seats, the theater was located in Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, just 2.5 miles south of downtown Chicago. Her Friday night show sold out, so a second one was added for Saturday, November 30th.
It's interesting to note that at this point in Streisand's early concert career, pianist Peter Daniels was conducting for her. Also, Barbra and manager Marty Erlichman were starting to take a more active role in the finances of Barbra's career by creating Barbell Productions—which joined with Triangle Productions for this show. Triangle Productions was a Chicago-based theatrical production company led by Frank Fried. Barbell Productions was created by Erlichman and Streisand to produce her live shows.
Below is a Dec. 1963 Chicago newspaper review of Streisand's gig by Nick Bird:
It would be laboring a cliché to say that Barbra Streisand's first Chicago concert at McCormick Place's Arie Crown Theatre last week was a smash success, but in all honesty, what else is there to say? Both the Friday and Saturday evening performances were sellouts, and the one witnessed by this reviewer produced one of the most enthusiastic audience reactions heard in a long time.
The magic that this wispy, seemingly awkward former New York telephone operator has over her audience is difficult to describe. On the one hand, there's her appearance — literally defying imagination. The costumery appears to be taken from a Calvin Coolidge commemorative muse of the New Yorker, and even— believe it or not— coming out in the second half of the concert with a foot-high wig, exotic hairdo, and slinky gown.
On the other hand, there's Barbra's voice — a fabulously wonderful pure thing — with an equally wonderful personality that has a disarming appeal all its own. Who but a Streisand would or could take a ditty about a "Big Bad Wolf" and make of it a sophisticated cabaret-type rendition. Or a thoroughly worked-over "Coloring Book" and bring to it something creative and new. She did these and "Who Will Buy" and "Lover" and "Cry Me A River," and a funny ditty about getting caught in a dentist's chair and a host of other (some barely recognizable) songs, all to the delight of the 5,000-some entranced Streisand-philes who never did quite seem to want her to stop.
Barbra's first Chicago appearance at Mr. Kelly's last summer was successful enough but after last weekend at McCormick Place, you have to say Chicago's her own.
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