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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter on Barbra Streisand’s first three film musicals considers how her star text affects the adaptation of the three Broadway musicals on which they are based. Although Streisand starred in Funny Girl on the stage, the screen version made significant changes to the musical, relating the story as a flashback so that it could be telescoped through her perspective. Most of the other characters’ songs were cut, a ploy that was also used in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever to emphasize Streisand as the star. In both films, as well as in Hello, Dolly!, Streisand was cast opposite men with weak singing voices, empowering her performance musically in each case. A good example of how this works is in the title song of On a Clear Day, where Yves Montand performs the number complete with a simple orchestration and staging, followed by Streisand’s much grander performance. Meanwhile, in Dolly! it was necessary to make changes to the title character in order to draw attention away from the fact that Streisand was much too young for the role; thus she is depicted as a general busybody in ‘Just Leave Everything to Me,’ which replaced ‘I Put My Hand In,’ which focuses on Dolly as a matchmaker.

Keywords: Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Hello, Dolly!, Broadway

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