The Broadway Album
Barbra Streisand had largely forsaken musical-theater-based material in favor of contemporary pop/rock for well over a decade before she decided to return to her roots on this collection. She devotes much of the album to nuanced, emotionally resonant interpretations of Stephen Sondheim material, shining especially on “Putting It Together,” “Not While I’m Around” and “Being Alive.” Her specially tailored rendition of “Send In the Clowns” discovers new shadows in this haunting modern standard. Reaching back further, she imbues Guys and Dolls’ “Adelaide’s Lament” with the comedic flair she displayed early in her career and connects with the slow-burning passion glowing within Show Boat’s “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.” The boldest move here is the billowing, widescreen treatment given West Side Story’s “Somewhere,” enhancing Streisand’s aching rendition with a lush contemporary backdrop. Not surprisingly, Barbra seems eminently comfortable handling these tunes and does a remarkable job at getting inside them, making even familiar showstoppers sound fresh.