Armed with the Streisand songbook, arranged by Callaway and orchestrated by some of the best minds in the business, this weekend’s performance is sure to be a treat for fans of Barbra as well as Callaway’s infectious stage presence.
“I really crafted a portrait of Streisand, and I wanted to include songs from various parts of her career, but I also wanted it to be personal to me.”
That personal touch involves a few songs she wrote herself but fit into the style of Streisand.
“You’ll hear fresh takes on Streisand classics – some songs are more similar (“Don’t Rain on my Parade” and “A Piece of Sky”) but everything else… its like Barbra through the eyes of jazz.”
Callaway has been performing on stage or behind the scenes for decades. She’s warn many hats – singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer – but always aims to ad her personal flair to her productions.
As she spoke with GayRVA, she was in Palm Springs getting ready to perform in a Tribute to the Follies, an old fashion-vaudeville show with spinning plates and a trained canine act.
“It’s going to be hilarious,” she said. “It can be hard to switch between shows, but the Streisand Songbook is one of my favorite shows and I put some much care into the arrangements. It’s a real highlight for me.”
She opened this Streisand show with the Boston Pops years ago with help from Alan Bergman, who wrote more than 60 songs for Streisand. When he saw Callaway perform the show live, Bergman said it was perfect. “They thought I was the right person to do this, so that made me feel very happy,” she said.
She’s also worked directly for Streisand as a songwriter, with seven tracks written by her on recent Streisand albums. Since opening the Streisand Songbook show, its garnered Broadwayworld.com Awards and the 2013 MAC Award for Show of the Year.
Beyond the classics and a few personal tunes, this weekend’s show will also feature Callaway’s renown improv, speaking with the crowd and using them as fodder for generating songs on the spot.
“I’ll interview the audience and I’ll get names and we’ll write a Richmond Streisand-style love song,” she said. “And maybe someone will record it and Streisand will hear it and she’ll record it!”
Your chance to catch Ann Hampton Callaway’s return to Richmond happens this Saturday, March 11th, at the Carpenter Theatre. The Symphony Pops accompaniment will be led by Associate Conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin.