Barbra Streisand rarely appears in live concerts anymore. But on Sept. 26, she's taking the stage at a venue she hasn't played in a really long time: the Village Vanguard.
Well before her appearance at the Village Vanguard, Barbra Streisand began collecting fan mail at the club address.
Well before her appearance at the Village Vanguard, Barbra Streisand began collecting fan mail at the club address. John Rogers
Jo Hale/Getty Images
Barbra Streisand performs at London's O2 Arena in July 2007. Her audience Sept. 26 at the Village Vanguard will be considerably smaller — the club's capacity is 123.
Barbra Streisand performs at London's O2 Arena in July 2007. Her audience Sept. 26 at the Village Vanguard will be considerably smaller — the club's capacity is 123. Jo Hale/Getty Images
At the legendary New York jazz club, Streisand will perform songs from her new album, a collection of jazz standards and classics called Love is the Answer.
In a telephone interview from the basement venue, proprietor Lorraine Gordon told host Scott Simon the story of Streisand's first appearance at the club. Forty-eight years ago, Streisand approached Lorraine's husband, Max Gordon, then the club owner.
"She wanted to sing down here, and Miles Davis was playing at the time," Gordon says. "And Max asked Miles, as the story goes, if he'd accompany her. And Miles, in his inimitable fashion, says, 'I don't play for no girls.' And he didn't."
Eventually, Streisand did get to perform. And while her Village Vanguard debut didn't make her famous, a weeklong stint at Max Gordon's other club, a fancier venue called the Blue Angel, did see her star begin to rise.
Streisand then went into theater, appearing in the show I Can Get It for You Wholesale.
"She just jumped from one thing to another, and did it all very well," Lorraine Gordon says. "That was how she started."
Gordon says the upcoming performance was all Streisand's idea — not that Gordon wasn't delighted.
"She's a person who remembers her life, and doesn't forget," Gordon says. "And I think — if I can put thoughts in her head — that she remembers those early days down here, and remembers my husband, I'd like to think."
When pressed to make a request for Streisand's set, Gordon picked a song from Love is the Answer: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The new album, Gordon says, is filled with favorite melodies from her childhood.
"I mean, these are beautiful, beautiful compositions and songs that she's singing," she says. "This is not your usual run-of-the-mill music that we hear today."
Only a handful of public tickets were made available for the performance — the club's capacity is 123. But if you weren't able to get inside, don't worry: You can watch the concert on Streisand's Web site next week.