"Encore: Music Partners Sing Broadway"
April 15 - 21, 2018
Year of Release: 2016
At The Ballet--
with Anne Hathaway &
with Patrick Wilson
Who Can I Turn To
with Anthony Newley
The Best Thing That Ever
with Alec Baldwin
Any Moment Now--
with Hugh Jackman
Anything You Can Do--
with Melissa McCarthy
with Seth MacFarlane
Take Me To The World--
with Antonio Banderas
I'll Be Seeing You/
I've Grown Accustomed
To Your Face--
with Chris Pine
Climb Ev'ry Mountain
--with Jamie Foxx
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As National Public Radio (NPR) reviewed this album: Barbra Streisand's cheekily entertaining and sometimes touching new album, Encore:
Movie Partners Sing Broadway, sounds like skits and music of an extravagantly staged awards show without the awards. It also has the feel of a
late-night gathering of show people as they share favorite, and in some cases virtually unknown, tunes and scenes -- at the home of a hostess who
just happens to have an orchestra lying around.
Yes... this is the feeling I received when the first track, "At The Ballet" (from A Chorus Line; with Anne Hathaway & Daisy Ridley).
An unknown tune, yes (and maybe not for those who are familiar with A Chorus Line). Yet as the title states, these are Broadway tunes.
And Streisand is no stranger in recording Broadway tunes, and she does present them professionally, as she has always done throughout her career.
The other thing to mention, as you're listening, there seems to be talking dialogue, just as if you were watching a movie musical. This is the
case in the opening Chorus Line track, and continuing with "Loving You" (from Passion; with Patrick Wilson). And this is what
Diva Barbra wanted, as she mention in the album's liner notes: In 2013, I heard the song "Any Moment Now" by my dear friend, composer Marvin
Hamlisch, and lyricist, Carolyn Leigh. It was from an unproduced musical they'd written thirty years before, called Smile. When I heard
Marvin and Carolyn singing and speaking the characters' dialogue it made me think... why not make a duets album where the spoken word could be women
into the fabric of the arrangements, much like a real Broadway musical? And with that, not only does the album become more interesting, its her
continuing series of Duets, with other artists/performers.
Anthony Newley has been a very important name in Broadway, and the likes of this particular music. He joins Barbra with a song from The Roar Of
The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd -- "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" -- a song that was written in 1964. In fact, Newley
was co-writer of this song.
Then the obvious attention-getter is the next track, as Barbra and actor Alec Baldwin take a spin on "THe Best Thing That Ever Happened"
(from Road Show). Baldwin just may get most attention with his impersonation of our current President, Donald Trump, yet heads do turn (in a
positive way), as he does quite well with his singing vocal abilities. And he singing along with the Diva Barbra Streisand, this duet should (and it
did), turns out for the best. It is a very well-done duet, with their singing and speaking.
Another actor who happened to turn to singing abilities is the X-Men/Wolverine, Hugh Jackman. His recent movie, The Greatest Showman was a
huge hit. And he teams up with the duet with Barbra on a song from Smile, "Any Moment Now" (the song that Barbra was listening to, and
getting ideas for this album, with duets, and spoken dialogue from Broadway musicals). Hugh and Barbra do well, yet the Diva provides more of the singing
than that of Jackman. Jackman provides more of his speaking abilities. He does towards the end gets the spotlight though. And comparing this track to
the Alec Baldwin duet, Baldwin gets the win.
Then there's the funny moment of a great Broadway track, "Anything You Can Do," with Melissa McCarthy. Its funny hearing them both sing,
"Anything you can do I can do better, I can do better than you." Really, who is better, Melissa or Barbra? I think we can just easily laugh at this one.
Melissa McCarthy is definitely funny as a comedianne, and Barbra, well she is still the Diva.
Another actor turned singer (and he is quite a good one, in our review -
Seth MacFarlne. Their duet of "Pure Imagination" (from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) brings back the nostalgia of the early movie
musicals (1950s). This duet is very very well performed. Close your eyes and you can easily see and enjoy Barbra and Seth sigining in a major movie
The next musical track is from Evening Primrose -- "Take Me To The World" with Antonio Banderas. And it's another well-done recording,
just as the duet with Seth MacFarlane. (The duet with Seth gets the win over this one, as MacFarlane has already proven himself as a professional singer,
providing his vocals heard more than that of Banderas. Banderas does well of his own, yet my vote goes for Seth.)
Actor Chris Pine is next, with a duet from Right This Way/My Fair Lady -- "I'll Be Seeing You/I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face.
Pine is the recent Captain Kirk in the latest Star Trek movies. Somehow, Pine's voice is quite impressive, as his singing style you could not
picture. Given his chance, he sounds a bit like Harry Connick Jr. Again, you picture him singing as he does, and you're like, "Wow, this is quite
different, and impressive."
Ending the album is a duet with Jamie Foxx -- "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," from The Sound Of Music Barbra gets the better of herself with
Jamie on this one.
If you're getting the opportunity to sing with Barbra Streisand, then you know your song will get the most professional touch you can ever imagine.
This is the case for this album, as the spoken dialogue is an extra-added touch. She has always been drawn musical theatre songs. She has done this
many of times with various albums of her own, and with other performers. All in all, this is another great album to add to her musical career.
Encore: Music Partners Sing Broadway is a great collection of Broadway songs, sung by a genuine and outstanding performer who has been in
the spotlight for over 50 years. What makes it more interesting are her duet partners. Some you would never expect to try and take the "risk" in
singing, rather than what they are better known for: Actors, Actresses, Comedians. Seth MacFarlane is one of those, where he has already recorded
albums of his own. And then there's Alec Baldwin, and Chris Pine, and even Melissa McCarthy. Maybe any one of them could record a full album of their
own? Robert Downey Jr. did a Jazz album (The Futurist), and it turned out extremely well. They wanted him to continue recording... But he only
wanted to do one album, and one album only.
Barbra Streisand's music has always been awarding. If you like musicals, this is a must. The duets and the spoken dialogue makes the album as its
own movie soundtrack. It is very professional, just as Barbra Streisand has always been.
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