Mister Kelly’s

1028 North Rush Street

Chicago, Illinois

June 11-30, 1963

Wide view of Mister Kellys

Mister Kellys

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.”

Streisand and talent booker

Above: Arlyne, Mister Kelly's in-house booker, convinced the owners to book Streisand.

Performance photos of Streisand at Mister Kelly's

(Above photos taken by David Drew Zingg at Mister Kelly's)

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.

Streisand in Chicago 1963

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.

Streisand marquee outside Mister Kellys

Below: Kup's June 12th column mentions Barbra Streisand's debut at Mister Kelly's.

Kup's column

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.

Streisand in Chicago


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