“A Very Informal History
of the American Musical Theater: 1926—1966”
June 12, 1966
Barbra Streisand participated in this benefit performance at the American Embassy during the London run of Funny Girl. The embassy theater sat approximately 200 people. Streisand rehearsed for this special performance each evening after performing in Funny Girl.
Anita Gillette and Lee Allen (who played Eddie Ryan in the London and film version of Funny Girl) sang American theater songs, followed by Cy Coleman (the composer of Sweet Charity), who played and sang some of his theater compositions.
Introduced by Cy Coleman as “one of the greatest recording artists of our country — possible of all time,” Barbra appeared on stage wearing a paisley-beaded gown.
Barbra sang: "Where Am I Going?" from Sweet Charity; then a Porgy and Bess medley (over 10 minutes long, including "I Got Plenty of Nothin," "Summertime," "I Loves You, Porgy," "It Ain't Necessarily So."), and "People."
The entire evening was broadcast on BBC radio. Bootlegs of this have been traded among Streisand fans for years.
Click the button below to play an excerpt of the Porgy and Bess medley that Streisand sang:
One of the celebrities in the audience that night was Noël Coward, (pictured below, top) the English actor, playwright and composer. Streisand was photographed with him at the reception following her performance. Streisand was also photographed with British Foreign Secretary Lord George Brown (photo, bottom).
Below: Barbra's paisely gown was auctioned by Juliens:
A custom made Galanos embellished silk crepon gown in autumn tones worn by Barbra Streisand multiple times in her early career. The gown has a high waistline; a ruced waistband; long slender sleeves; a built-in understructure with boning; and hand finishing work. The printed gown is embellished with irridescent cut glass, simulated pearls, jet like beads and pallettes and copper tone and opalescent sequins. A Bergdorf Goodman label is inscribed "Miss. B. Streisand" and dated "6/16/65."
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