August 3, 2011

And the new Barbra Streisand is... Lauren Ambrose!

So... they're doing a big Broadway revival of the pretty decent musical "Funny Girl," the show that launched Barbra Streisand:
“Lauren was the only person I saw with the deepest acting skills, the capacity to sing everything in this role and an emotional richness that really worked for Fanny at all ages,” [director Bartlett] Sher said, noting that “Funny Girl” is told largely in flashbacks. “It was a wonderful surprise. She wasn’t honestly a front-runner for the part until she called me, asked to audition and came in and blew us all away.” Mr. Sher had directed Ms. Ambrose in the 2006 Broadway revival of “Awake and Sing!”
Cool! Ambrose played Claire on "Six Feet Under," and I'm not sure if she ever sang in that part, but back in 2004, I heard her sing "God Bless the Child" on the old Isaac Mizrahi show and I was blown away.


The Crack Emcee said...

The new Barbra Streisand is... Lauren Ambrose!

Not without declaring she's a socialist, she ain't!


rhhardin said...

The vibrato is awful.

Irene said...

"Funny Girl" was an influential movie in my youth. It taught me the lesson that a smart cookie must be wary of the world's Omar Sharifs.

William said...

I have never seen a redhead wear pink. With good reason. You could get conjunctivitis just looking at her. Not many singers attempt this song. It's bound to generate invidious comparisons to Billie Holliday. I agree that she has a powerful voice, plus she threw in some seductive moves. That's not at all the way this song is usually sung. If ever a song called for a voice that cracks and gutters, it's this one. But it's no crime for an entertainer to draw attention to herself whatever way she can. Part of the job like a body builder flexing his muscles during compettions.

William said...
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The Crack Emcee said...

I stopped right after the second verse, when she got to wailing about money. It's funny how you can have such talented people and they don't know what to do with it - or when it becomes a joke.

I can't sing a lick and I'd still be able to compete with her, artistically, because I ain't so full of myself as to overwhelm the material (Check out how she starts fucking with her hair at one point,...) As rhhardin said, she's not as commanding a singer as she thinks, causing me to stare at her, in a who-does-she-think-she-is? way, rather than to be swept up and go with the song. The song comes first, child.

The song always comes first.

Ann Althouse said...

Jeez, you guys are a tough crowd.

Carol_Herman said...

I'm with the dog in this skit.

The hair, however, is gorgeous. And, NOT from Clairol.

Carol_Herman said...

I remember Barbra Streisand singing on Ed Sullivan's Show. She was good! And, she had sewn her own clothes! If she had had a nose job it would have ruined everything!

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

Jeez, you guys are a tough crowd.

You should have some sense of what makes good from bad, but, more than anything, you've GOT to have standards.

And it's easy to judge when when someone's performing a standard. I would never do a straight cover, like this, for just that reason - I can't sing. Better to re-work it, and create something new for myself that you can judge. You'd be so blown away by the new arrangement, my limitations as a vocalist probably wouldn't even occur to you. THAT'S what artists do. You don't just go around mangling shit because some silly fashion designer doesn't tell you "no."

What kind of friend is he?

Mark said...

Agree with Althouse. Sometimes when you have a toy like that voice, you just got to let it rip.

EDH said...

Turn off the cavernous reverb and move on to more important questions.

Like, does the carpet match the drapes?

dbp said...

A song like that is the very last thing I would expect to hear on a gay man's talk show.

Mark said...

What, he's gay?

rcocean said...

How can she be the new "Barbara Streisand"?

-Ambrose: I knew Babs Streisand,
-Babs Streisand was obnoxious and had a nose & ego the size of Manhattan.
- So, you Madam, are no Babs Streisand.

However she might be a more realistic Fanny Brice, who actually funny and likable.

edutcher said...

She's not Babs, although she reminds me of Ashley Judd in looks as well as voice.

There's a richness to Babbo's voice this girl doesn't have, but they're not asking her to be Streisand, they're asking her to play Fanny Brice.

She seems like good people, so I hope it works for her.

Carol_Herman said...

I remember Barbra Streisand singing on Ed Sullivan's Show. She was good!

That voice was once described as the perfect Broadway voice. She starts out in overdrive and shifts from there.

She was on all the shows in the early 60s and that's how everybody got to know her. Broadway alone wouldn't have given her that name recognition.

Robert Cook said...

I've always loved Lauren Ambrose...who knew she could sing?

Robert Cook said...

Actually, I didn't care for her rendition of "God Bless The Child."

I followed the link from the Times article to a video of her performing a song called "My Man." It was much better.

yashu said...

I like her; had no idea she could sing. Claire Fisher was my favorite character on 6 Feet Under.

Which reminds me: that show was one of the few-- maybe the only-- Hollywood product(s) in recent times (Bush era) that portrayed a happy relationship between political opposites: between the artsy photographer (Ambrose) & the Republican lawyer. It was so strange simply to see a Republican portrayed as a good guy (& smart, witty etc.). I was surprised to see that at the time; in retrospect it seems even more remarkable & anomalous.

Ah! Just remembered Alec Baldwin's character on 30 Rock. OK, maybe it's not as rare as I thought.

I guess the real anomaly would be to see the character of an artsy type (all the more so a woman, black, or gay) who also happened to be a Republican/ conservative. Like some of the esteemed characters at Althouse. But then, that wouldn't be a "type."

Joanna said...

She sang a few times in Six Feet Under.

Scott said...

Six Feet Under, first season -- I think first episode! -- Ambrose does a short fantasy sequence where she is the star in a Broadway musical.

I totally believe she can do Funny Girl. This is one show I won't miss!

G Joubert said...
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