Broadcast September 25, 2012 (syndicated)

Katie Couric interviews Barbra Streisand

(Above: Katie Couric shows a photo of 7-year-old Streisand singing as her teacher Mrs. Weiselberg applauds.)

Streisand, making her entrance on the Katie soundstage as “People” played, took a seat next to Katie Couric. Couric's new talk show debuted the week before Streisand's episode aired. (Barbra's interview was taped in New York Wednesday, September. 19th. Streisand promised Couric she'd sit and chat when they talked in Aspen months before.)

Couric got down to business fast, asking Streisand what song she would play for her entrance if she were producing the show. Barbra talked about what kind of songs she likes.

“I like the very obscure songs, which I will sing when I do my tour. I had written a song called ‘By the Way’—which I've never performed live—and other things which I've never performed live, so that'll be fun to do.”

Katie, Barbra, and Noel

Katie dedicated the next two segments to Barbra's new cause, women and heart disease. Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center joined Barbra to talk about heart disease and symptoms in women.

After a commercial break, Katie chided Barbra that she was coming “out of retirement” to sing again. Barbra clarified, “No, I didn’t announce [my retirement]. It was just that I said it’s very tough to go on stage for two hours, and dress up, and wear high heels, and sing 22 songs a night, and it’s very exhausting. So every time I did it, I said I won’t do this again, but never say never. And it’s turned out, it’s been over… Every six years I seem to do very few concerts. When I talk to other performers, they do 300 dates a year, 250 dates a year. I’ve done 42 since 1963 – that is very little.”

About singing in Brooklyn after so many years, Barbra revealed “I was actually—years ago—planning a [television] special called Barbra's Brooklyn.”

She further explained the impetus for getting on the stage again: “When times get tough, in terms of movies, and things are changing, I always feel safe going home to where I know I can have the audience come, which is the concert world. That's very fulfilling.”

Streisand on Katie

Katie and Barbra then talked about Release Me. “I was so critical in those days, that if there was one note I didn't like, and I didn't have time to do it over, I just wouldn't release it.”

When asked about Marvin Hamlisch, Streisand recalled, “My musical director... said, 'When we do The Way We Were, why don't we go back to Marvin's original orchestration from the film?' and I thought that was a great idea and a friend of mine sent me a song that he wrote many years ago that was never put into a show and I loved it and I wanna do it on the next album... a duets album.

“I couldn't wait to tell him that I wanna do that song... I wrote myself a note: 'Call Marvin'. And when I finished rehearsal at about 11 o'clock at night I tried to call him and I called my friends to try to find out where he was and they hadn't heard from him either ... so I never got to tell him these things and that note is still on my table, because I can't even let go of the note.”

(Hamlisch died on August 6 after a short illness.)

Couric, after the break, asked Barbra, “You never did a third Broadway album. Do you think you might still?”

Barbra replied, after a beat: “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”


Streisand told Couric that she would not consider performing on Broadway again, “Unless they brought the stage to Malibu and I could do two shows a week!”

The next line of questioning involved Barbra's forthcoming album ...

Katie: Tell us a little bit about the duets album you’re working on with Babyface Edmonds. Who would you [...] like to sing a duet with?

Barbra: Oh gosh, there’s so many good guys. First of all, Babyface has a great voice. Bocelli.

KC: That would be killer.

Barbra: We’ve been talking about singing together for a long time, but I send him songs, he sends me songs. The twain hasn’t met yet, you know? I like Keith Urban. I like Usher. John Legend. There’s some really good guys around.

Couric and Streisand discuss Jason Gould

After discussing music, Barbra made an exciting announcement:

Barbra: Actually, my very, very exciting duet partner is my son.

Katie: That’s so nice. Jason, right? Does he do a lot of singing?

Barbra: You know I used to sing with him when he was a baby. When I came home from work, we would sing together. And then when he was 15, I heard this gorgeous hum from behind his door. And I went, “Jason, is that you?” [Son’s Response] “Mom go away.” [Barbra] “Open the door, Jason.” [Son’s Response] “Mom, no it’s OK.” But I heard him hum, right? And a few years ago he said, “You know I’ve started to sing and work on some music,” and I said, “Really?” And this is a tough spot to enter that profession for him, I suppose. And I tell you, when I heard the things he’s recorded, the musicianship, the sound of his voice, it’s like he has a little chamber music orchestra right in his vocal chords. I don’t know what it is. His sweetness, his inventiveness musically. I said, “Jason, I have to sing with you. You have to be on my duets album.” Not only that, “You have to come,” – He’s never performed live.

Katie: And he’s going to be performing with you in Brooklyn?

Barbra: [Nods yes]

Streisand brushes Couric's hairKatie mentioned Lea Michele (from Glee) and how Barbra is her role model. “She’s been encouraged to get her nose done, and she’s been very strong about it and said she’s not going to do it, that Barbra Streisand didn’t do hers.”

“Good for her,” Barbra said. “You never could tell. It might change the sound of your voice. The guy might botch it up and make it worse than it was. You just don’t know.”

Katie Couric tried to get Barbra to say “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell,” from The Way We Were After briefly discussing working with Redford and coming up with the brushing of his hair, Katie asked, “Is it wrong that I kind of want you to do that to my hair?”

Barbra obliged Katie and brushed her bangs aside, à la The Way We Were.



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