The Importance of Being Barbra
The Importance of Being Barbra
The Brilliant, Tumultuous Career of Barbra Streisand
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312348793, 256pp.
Publication Date: June 13, 2006
Controversial, a global icon, a diva among divas---Barbra Streisand, the last genuinely unique show business personality of the twentieth century is the most honored entertainer in the world today. But along with the Tony, two Oscars, six Emmys, eight Grammys, ten Golden Globes, fifty gold albums, and wild acclaim have come wildly diverse reactions to a personality as outsized as her talent. In the words of Streisand herself, "I'm a liberal, opinionated Jewish feminist---I push a lot of buttons."
In Tom Santopietro's witty yet analytical look at this one-of-a-kind career, the myths and personal foibles are stripped away, and the focus lands squarely on the work. From the early recordings to the groundbreaking television specials, from the Hollywood blockbusters to the history-making comeback concerts, Streisand's career is placed within an oftentimes uniquely American social context but always allowed to speak for itself. In a brisk, funny, and always compelling style, The Importance of Being Barbra reveals all the milestones in a new and sometimes startling light, ranging from the brilliance of Funny Girl and The Broadway Album to the misbegotten yet curiously popular A Star Is Born.
Treating Barbra Streisand like the serious artist she is---and has always claimed to be---The Importance of Being Barbra delves into the key reasons for her all-encompassing success: the overwhelming ambition, the notorious perfectionism, the fervent gay following, the dramatic pull of a voice and style that mysteriously connect with the lovelorn all around the world. A full-scale examination of the acting, singing, and directing that have ranged from the dazzling to the occasionally inexplicable---it's all here for anyone who has ever wondered at the phenomenon that is Barbra Streisand.
Praise for The Importance of Being Barbra
"Not at all the average fan tribute, The Importance of Being Barbra mixes milk-and-honey admiration with bracing shots of vinegar. Tom Santopietro 'gets' his idol---loves her for what she is, understands what she is not (but still could be!). His book is smart, funny, right-on. An encyclopedic must-read for anybody who has pondered the greatness, perfection, and oddities of Miss Streisand."
---Liz Smith, New York Post columnist
"An astute and thorough analysis of Streisand's career told in a brisk and engaging style while carefully establishing Streisand as a major cultural icon."
---A. R. Gurney Jr., author of Love Letters and Scenes from American Life
"For both fan and non-fan this is a fast-paced examination of a superstar's career. A great read."
---Bob Avian, Tony Award--winning choreographer of A Chorus Line and Ballroom
"Tom Santopietro's [The Importance of Being Barbra is an] encyclopedic but wonderfully entertaining account of Barbra Streisand's career, one 'unparalleled in the history of show business.' Who could argue? Who could resist?"
---Jay Presson Allen, screenwriter of Cabaret and Funny Lady "Here at last is a book that treats Streisand like the remarkable artist she is. Not just for fans."
---Jeanine Basinger, author of American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking
Santopietro, Tom. The Importance of Being Barbra. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. Jun. 2006. c.256p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-312-34879-7 [ISBN 978-0-312-34879-3]. $22.95. MUSIC There is no doubt that Barbra Streisand has enjoyed one of the greatest show business careers of all time. But with countless biographies of the songstress already in print, why add another one to the collection? This book by Streisand's ultimate fan, theater manager Santopietro, is different, less a biography than an analysis of the star's recordings, films, theatrical career, television appearances, and concerts. Though occasionally over the top (he calls Streisand "Babs"), Santopietro holds strong opinions on all things Streisand that are usually right on. He observes her successes as well as her bloopers, e.g., what was she thinking with A Star Is Born? Only one thing nags at the reader: who is this guy? Does having stage managed a couple dozen New York City shows give him the credentials to critique