While in New York, I like to take advantage of seeing plays and concerts. This visit, I had the pleasure of seeing two icons, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow. Both from Brooklyn, both Jewish, and both legendary.
Barbra Streisand, at 77, can still sing with perfect pitch and captivate massive audiences that include distinguished guests. When I think of Barbra, I think of precision, perfectionism and class. Her performances were passionate and dramatic. Her humour is heartwarming and although not everyone at Madison Square Gardens appreciated her politics, you could tell that her words were heartfelt. My favourite performance, and there were many to choose from, can be narrowed down to 'Woman In Love' and 'Memory'.
My heart may have skipped a beat when she mentioned she has been working on an autobiography for the last five years. I will be waiting anxiously for that read.
Three days after seeing Barbra at MSG, I had the pleasure of seeing Barry Manilow on Broadway. A year younger than Barbra, Barry basically throws a party! Barry's short three week run at the Lunt-Fontanne theatre ends on August 17. It's worth seeing if you can. Like Barbra, his show is well thought out. He tells a story, by beginning with the importance of melody and the lack of it in our music today. His stories of how he began as a little boy in Williamsburg, to be interested in music and how he was supported by his family, especially his grandfather, tug at the heartstrings.
Barry writes the songs that make the whole world sing. That was true on August 6 because the entire audience sang to EVERY song. If you are thinking you don't know any Manilow songs than all I have to say is: "I am stuck on band-aid brand, 'cause band-aid's stuck on me". Did you read or sing that? Just one of many songs still around from Barry's jingle writing days.
My favourite Barry Manilow song is 'Mandy'. He played piano and sang alongside a video of a young Barry at the piano with long hair and bell bottoms. Other favourites of the night were I Can't Smile Without You, Copacabana, and of course, Memory. Barry mentioned that only two people had hits with Memory - Barbra Streisand and Barry himself.
Even if you are not a Fanilow, you couldn't help but leave the theatre with a good feeling and a smile on your face.
Do you have a favourite Barbra or Barry song, album, movie, broadway musical?
Music adventures await!