Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!, a new Netflix concert film out Wednesday, shows a side of Barbra Streisand that audiences have rarely seen. Comprised of moments from her 2016 show in Miami and the making of her 2016 album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, the nearly two-hour film takes fans on a ride through her six-decade career. But as the title suggests, it’s not just songs: Streisand shares funny stories with her audience, touching on everything from her directorial debut in 1983’s Yentl (“There’s nothing like your first time”) to shooting the cover of A Star is Born (“If you’re wondering what I was wearing during that shoot… it was musk”).
The tales are also illuminating, clueing fans in on how Streisand controls everything in her career, right down to the winged tip of her eyeliner. “I’ve done it from the beginning,” she says of her makeup. “When I was doing Funny Girl, they said, ‘We’re going to make you up.’ I said, ‘What? Let’s do two tests: You make me up for one, and I’ll make myself up for one.’ They did agree that mine was better.”
Read on for more must-see highlights from Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!
1. Streisand covers Carole King — and makes a political statement
Midway through the first act, Streisand interprets Carole King’s “Being at War with Each Other” from the singer-songwriter’s 1973 album Fantasy. “Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t understand it/Why do we seem to vote to dig more holes?” sings Streisand, whose support of the Democratic Party stretches back several decades. “It’s such a waste of a planet.” Standing in front of pictures showing war-torn cities, mass-shooting tragedies, and pride parades, Streisand’s message is simple and powerful: Love is always the answer.
2. She revisits “Papa Can You Hear Me?”
One of the most powerful reminders of Babs’ vocal prowess is when she pays homage to Yentl, for which she became the first woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes. Her voice soars during “Papa Can You Hear Me?” — an excellent reminder of how just a few notes from Streisand can give you chills.
3. Streisand becomes Fanny Brice
In the second act, Streisand introduces the song “Isn’t This Better” from Funny Lady — the Funny Girl sequel — with an amusing story about Liza Minelli performing the song at a Streisand tribute. “It was so beautiful, the song, but I couldn’t place the song or why she was singing it, so I asked her, ‘Liza, why did you sing that song?’ And she said, ‘Barbra, you sang it in Funny Lady!” Then Babs fully takes on the role of her character, Fanny Brice, delivering sassy renditions of “How Lucky Can You Get” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” The resulting ovation is deserved.
4. She climbs with Jamie Foxx
Even though Streisand can still carry a show on her own, she welcomes Jamie Foxx to the stage for a mesmerizing duet of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music. “I wanted to sing with Jamie Foxx because he just has such a fantastic voice and soulful — very, very soulful — sound,” she says. That’s quite a compliment coming from Streisand, and Foxx lives up to it alongside the legend.
For more where that comes from, watch Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!, debuting Wednesday on Netflix.