BroadwayWorld got to speak with the talented Ann Hampton Callaway on her upcoming concert, her personal relationship with Barbara Streisand, new CDs, and so much more!
On behalf of BroadwayWorld, I just have to say how excited we are to have you coming to Denver to perform with our symphony!
Have you been to Denver before and what do you think of our fine city?
Yes, I have, I have been a few times, but I think this is my first major show in Denver, so this is exciting for me. It's a beautiful city. I just have to make sure I don't drink too much wine at dinner. Great people, favorite musicians are from Denver, I love any place that's near the mountains. It reminds me just a tiny bit of a sort of mountain-circled Chicago. The people have a little bit of that kind of openness. That's my home town, so I feel like, "this feels familiar."
So you will be singing selections from Barbra Streisand songbook....what is your favorite Babs song?
My favorite Babs'song is the latest one she's recorded of mine, but actually, there are so many great songs that she does. I have to say that in doing this show, some songs that I have never done before have been incredible thrills to sing and have become favorites that just surprised me. For instance, singing, "Piece of Sky." It's just such an incredible experience emotionally, the journey that that song takes. I think it sort of paints a portrait of not just the character that Barbra directed and acted in Yentl but also it seems to be a portrait of Barbra's exploration as an artist, and a woman, and her life, so particularly I'm loving that song these days.
What can we expect to hear from your concert? Any favorites?
Some of the highlights of the show, I think people really respond strongly to this medley I did of "People" and "Being Alive," it seems to get a huge ovation when I sing that song. People also really love hearing the original songs I wrote for Barbra, we get big ovations on "I've Dreamed of You," the song I wrote for Barbra's wedding; she received the song the day she was getting getting married, and did the most unStreisand-like thing and sang the song at her wedding reception, even though it was brand new and she had to have a lyric sheet in her hand. That was a real thrill. Even straight men cry when they hear the song, so that was a wonderful experience. The song I wrote that Barbra first recorded sold 11 million records at the same time, she did such a beautiful arrangement of that. It's an anthem for world peace and I think a lot of people they may have heard the song, "On Higher Ground" or some of her other collections but they don't necessarily attribute it to me, so that's a part of the personal side of the show. But, something like "Don't Rain on My Parade," the moment I start singing that, the crowd...crowd's always get excited about that. The fabulous moments that you can't wait to hear. I mean, every song in the show ... the great thing about the show is an incredible career of music. I just chose all the songs that have a really strong connection to the audiences that love. I got the top arrangers to orchestrate these songs and many of them have been orchestrating for Streisand herself. But we want to spoil all of you with a really fantastic show.
Is there a song that you feel ultimately represents you?
When I choose songs to sing, I don't choose any song that I don't feel is in someway a representation of me, but I think probably when I sing I've written, that's about as personal as it gets. And, both songs, "I've Dreamed of You" that I've sung at so many of my concerts through the years and particularly love singing with the orchestra, it shows the very romantic, passionate side of who I am. I recently wrote lyrics for same-sex weddings, and I've been singing this songs for those weddings, and it's been wonderful to open up the song to everyone, and it's an exciting time in the marriage world and for human rights. And, I also think when I do the song, "People/Being Alive," that medley, I feel I really dig deep into the ups and downs of my own personal life of opening up completely to another human being and allowing myself to need someone. We all have our aches and wounds and those two songs celebrate overcoming the heartbreaks that we have and embracing the great connection that we all need and seek.