The Normal Heart
Apr 19, 1993
In the spring of 1993, Barbra came "Back To Broadway,"
making two very special appearances on the Great White Way. On May 13,
she appeared at a listening party at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, an
event to promote her new album, Back To Broadway. Fans
were treated to a preview of the new album - played to a slide-show
style presentation showcasing Barbra's career. Barbra appeared
at the end of the program to say a few words about her latest
recording project. Regretfully, I was not in attendance that
evening, but I did manage to participate in what was surely the more
emotional event for Barbra - a benefit reading of Larry Kramer's play
The Normal Heart last night at The Roundabout Theatre on April
At that time, Barbra
had an option on The Normal Heart, intending to turn the play
into her next movie. Artistic differences with Kramer would
ultimately drive Barbra away from the project. What does remain,
however is a cast recording of that evening's phenomenal event with
Barbra's heartfelt introductory remarks included.
Barbra was moved
to tears at the conclusion of the reading. With tissue in hand
and tears flowing, she joined the cast on stage for their curtain
calls as you can see from the exclusive photo, above. Among
members of this stellar cast were Tony Roberts, Stockard Channing,
Harry Hamlin, Eric Bogosian and Kevin Bacon. The players viewed
their participation in the event as more than philanthropic.
Some, I'm convinced, considered their performance as a big time
Tickets for the event
were available to the public. For my modest contribution, I not
only got a second row center seat (Barbra sat behind me on the 4th row
aisle), but I had the opportunity to meet Barbra personally and take a
few pictures. We exchanged greetings after the first act as she
made her way backstage.
It's Deja Vu for Barbra
The Roundabout, a.k.a. The
When Barbra Streisand
arrived at Broadway's Roundabout Theatre for the reading
of "The Normal Heart" in 1993, it was a coming home of
sorts. On September 18, 1968 Barbra last entered that
very same building when it was known as The Criterion
Theatre. The occasion was the star-studded New York
premiere of her film, "Funny Girl."
In those days, The Criterion was a major movie theatre
located in the heart of Times Square. The "Funny Girl" premiere closed
off traffic in order to celebrate Barbra's triumphant return to her
home town. The event was broadcast on television, and Barbra was even
interviewed by one of her all time favorite politicians, the Mayor of
New York, John V. Lindsay (right).
Since that magical
night in 1968, The Criterion has undergone a substantial makeover.
Once a massive movie palace, The Criterion was later transformed
into two smaller Broadway theatres. One of those theatres was named