The Forward 50

Barbra Streisand

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Culture

Barbra Streisand

The Forward 50

Singer, actress and Jewish megastar Barbra Streisand marked her 50th year in show business with a high-profile return to her hometown, performing two sold-out concerts at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as part of her first United States tour since 2006. In a nod to her Flatbush roots, she tweaked the lyrics of “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from “Sunset Boulevard” to reference the “Brooklyn docks and Nova lox” and “knishes” of a childhood spent in what in the 1940s and ’50s was a predominantly Jewish working-class neighborhood.

The sentimental homecoming was a first for Streisand, who, now 70, had a bio out this year confirming she had never scheduled a major show in her native borough, where she is said to have given her first public performance, at the Orthodox girls yeshiva she attended. Her fame came from best-selling albums like “People” (1964), stage hits like her 1964 Broadway performance in “Funny Girl” and beloved film roles like the title part in “Yentl” (1983), Streisand’s adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story about a Polish shtetl girl who dresses as a boy so that she can study at a yeshiva. Streisand is one of a very few artists to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, and she holds the record for the most top-10 albums of any female recording artist.

A longtime supporter of Democratic politics, Streisand endorsed Barack Obama for re-election this year in an advertisement released by the National Jewish Democratic Council, citing the president’s support of women’s and gay and lesbian rights and his efforts at economic recovery.


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