Musicals Blog

Barbra Streisand - Movie Musicals

Since I ended my last theme on composing teams with "Funny Lady" (Kander & Ebb), I decided it would be a good idea to review Barbra Streisand's movie musicals. Although Streisand is known primarily as a singer and her career started with Broadway musicals, she has appeared in only five movie musicals, three of which were her first three films. She has appeared in at least twice as many non-musical roles. [read more ...]

Funny Girl

Funny Girl" had a stormy start with part of the screenplay actually coming before the play. Originally, in the early 1960s, Stephen Sondheim was hired as lyricist, with Jule Styne as composer of the score. Jerome Robbins was the first director, later replaced by Bob Fosse. Well-known actresses, including Mary Martin, Anne Bancroft and Carol Burnett, were approached to play Fanny Brice before mostly unknown Barbra Streisand was hired for the role that launched her career. [read more ...]

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

In 1970, my favorite Barbra Steisand movie musical, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," was released. Like her two previous films, "Funny Girl" and "Hello, Dolly!," "On a Clear Day" was based on a Broadway musical. However, unlike the other two musicals, neither the film nor the Broadway musical of "On a Clear Day" was successful. [read more ...]

Hello, Dolly

Hello, Dolly!" was first produced for Broadway and the original play starred Carol Channing, although the role originally was intended for Ethel Merman. "Hello, Dolly!" was based on the hit play, "The Matchmaker," by Thorton Wilder and the musical score was written by Jerry Herman. The play opened on Broadway in 1964 and it ran for 2,844 performances. "Hello, Dolly!" won 10 Tony awards, including the award for Best Musical. [read more ...]

Funny Lady

"Funny Lady," released in 1975, was a sequel to the very successful "Funny Girl." In this film, Barbra Streisand again played Fanny Brice, but this time around her male lead was James Caan as Billy Rose. The screenplay, written by Jay Presson Allen and Arnold Schulman, is very loosely based on Brice's relationship with Rose. "Funny Lady" had a strong supporting cast, including Roddy McDowall and Ben Vereen. Omar Sharif repeated his role as Nicky Arnstein, but he only had a few short scenes in the film. [read more ...]


Barbra Streisand's last movie musical was "Yentl" in 1983. Based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer and a non-musical Broadway play, the movie version of "Yentl" was a complete Barbra Streisand project. Not only did she star in the film, she also directed it and co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Rosenthal. The musical score of "Yentl" was composed by Michel Legrand with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Streisand's co-stars in "Yentl" were primarily established Broadway and movie actors, including Mandy Patinkin, Nehemiah Persoff and Steven Hill. [read more ...]