1028 North Rush Street
June 11-30, 1963
Mr. Kelly’s, situated in the heart of Chicago’s Rush Street cafe belt, was small enough to offer the acoustics necessary for an intimate evening with a cabaret singer like Streisand. A house trio backed Streisand at the jazz club. Artists entered the stage from the kitchen. Bob Newhart, who played the club as a fledgling comedian, said there was “a very small stage in the front, and then it’d be like four tables deep and 20 tables wide. It was an oddly laid-out room, but it worked. People were right there. It was like you were in somebody’s living room.”
Above: Arlyne, Mister Kelly's in-house booker, convinced the owners to book Streisand.
Barbra studied Italian and ballet during her days in Chicago. She told writer Lawrence Grobel, “I could never understand performers who just sang at night and did nothing else.”
The cover image of Barbra’s album People was taken while Barbra was in Chicago ... at Lake Michigan beach. The picture of Barbra kibutzing near the water is an alternate from the same photo shoot by Don Bronstein. Barbra and Don Bronstein took a whole series of photos outside Mr. Kelly’s and at the beach. You can see outtakes here.
While Barbra was in town, she appeared on The Irv Kupcinet Show on June 15, 1963. Kupcinet was a local columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and had his own talk show. To date, no archival footage of this performance has surfaced. In the photo below you can see a quote from Kup on the Mister Kelly's marquee.
Below: Kup's June 12th column mentions Barbra Streisand's debut at Mister Kelly's.
Below: Some more photos of Streisand in Chicago by David Drew Zingg. She posed for him in the same raincoat she wore on The Ed Sullivan Show singing “When The Sun Comes Out.” All of these photos are for sale at King Rose Archives.
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