With a lit­tle help from her friends

Barbra Streisand en­lists A- list pals for Broad­way al­bum.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By NI­COLE EVAtt

SOME­TIMES even Barbra Streisand needs a lit­tle help from her friends.

The 74- year- old stage and screen le­gend de­cided early on that her 36th stu­dio al­bum would fea­ture Broad­way duets. So she called on some of her friends and favourite ac­tors, in­clud­ing Anne Hath­away, Daisy Ri­d­ley, Hugh Jack­man, Chris Pine and Bradley Cooper, to bring her vi­sion to life.

The re­sult, En­core: Movie Part­ners Sing Broad­way, is a quirky mix of sur­pris­ing and en­ter­tain­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions pulled from hit mu­si­cals like My Fair Lady and A Cho­rus Line, as well more ob­scure pro­duc­tions such as Evening Prim­rose and Smile.

De­spite the group ef­fort, the al­bum is still au­then­ti­cally Streisand.

“Records I have con­trol over,” said Streisand, who was hands- on with ev­ery as­pect, from song conception to direct­ing each per­for­mance.

“That’s what I cared about as a young per­former as well. I didn’t know about what salary it was,” she re­called. “I cared about cre­ative con­trol. That no­body can tell me what to sing or force me to sing or al­bum cover de­sign or any­thing that had to do with my creativ­ity. It had to feel right to me.”

In a re­cent in­ter­view at the ocean­side Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia, stu­dio where she recorded En­core, Streisand delved into her direct­ing process with some of the big­gest names in Hol­ly­wood. STREISAND ad­mit­ted that some stars took a lit­tle per­suad­ing. Alec Bald­win, for ex­am­ple, feared he didn’t have the vo­cal chops.

“And I said, ‘ You’re a per­son­al­ity and it’s per­fect for the song. Will you try with me? Be­cause if it’s re­ally ter­ri­ble we won’t use it. Will you ex­per­i­ment with me? Will you play with me?’” she said of her early con­ver­sa­tions with the 30 Rock ac­tor.

Luck­ily he agreed and the out­come is the cheeky, ro­man­tic duet, The Best Thing That Ever Has Hap­pened, from Stephen Sond­heim’s lesser- known mu­si­cal, Road Show.

“It’s hard work get­ting the notes right for peo­ple who are not singers, but I know they can act their way through it. They’ll get it and that’s the fun of do­ing this kind of project,” Streisand said. STREISAND wanted a new twist on the clas­sic Any­thing You Can Do, from Broad­way’s An­nie Get Your Gun.

So the Funny Girl star tapped fel­low funny lady Melissa McCarthy to reimag­ine the song as comedic ban­ter be­tween show­biz fren­e­mies.

“When I ap­proached Melissa, the first thing she said to me was, ‘ I can’t sing you know’ and so she’s a lit­tle bit tone deaf,” Streisand ex­plained.

“But she com­pen­sates with so much per­son­al­ity and so much laugh­ter and so much spon­tane­ity.”

Streisand re­called how McCarthy strug­gled to hit some of the notes, but other times she nailed it.

“There are mo­ments she sings and I go, ‘ Melissa that was fan­tas­tic! You sang that beau­ti­fully!’ And she sur­prises her­self,” she said. “WHEN I was a child I had imag­i­na­tion. I lived in Brook­lyn. You know, I slept in the liv­ing room. But I imag­ined my­self as some­body, as hav­ing some­thing worth­while to be no­ticed and some­how I man­i­fested it. So I know any­thing is pos­si­ble,” said Streisand.

This was the idea be­hind her heart­felt duet, Pure Imag­i­na­tion, from the 1971 film, Willy Wonka And The Cho­co­late Fac­tory.

Streisand teamed with ac­tor- film­maker Seth MacFar­lane for the dreamy bal­lad and penned a spo­ken- word in­tro­duc­tion about imag­i­na­tion she hoped will res­onate with mod­ern au­di­ences.

“The di­vi­sive­ness, the vi­o­lence, these are very sad times,” she said. “I just be­lieve in the power of what­ever it is – faith, prayer, vi­su­al­i­sa­tion ... who knows what that can man­i­fest?” STREISAND had full con­fi­dence that Jaimie Foxx would rise to the chal­lenge of per­form­ing one of Broad­way’s most- beloved songs: Climb Ev’ry Moun­tain from The Sound Of Mu­sic.

“I did be­cause I saw him get an Academy Award for play­ing Ray Charles. So I know he can sing,” she said. “His soul­ful­ness, his great voice ... he was able to sing it in one ses­sion, you know. I mean he’s that good. So I was thrilled. I was thrilled to sing with him.”

Streisand closes the al­bum with the soul­ful, mov­ing duet, which she said is about “hav­ing dreams and tak­ing chances.”

“Step- by- step we will get there,” said Streisand of her ap­proach to any ob­sta­cle. “We will climb that moun­tain. You have to have faith in to­day’s world. Don’t you?” – AP

streisand’s lat­est al­bum fea­tures songs from hit mu­si­cals like pro­duc­tions such as and — Filepic and as well as more ob­scure

macFar­lane — pho­tos: Ap

Foxx

mcCarthy

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