Tag Archives: Barbra Streisand

Roslyn Kind: Music Remained a Communication Channel When Mother Suffered Alzheimer’s

Roslyn Kind

Roslyn Kind is among the celebs who’ll be turning out Sunday (10/9) in L.A.’s Century City for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 19th annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s event.  The singer, also known as Barbra Streisand’s sister, cared for their mother after she began showing signs of Alzheimer’s following open heart surgery at age 82, until her death at 93.

“They told me changes might happen down the road — she’d been hours under anesthesia with the heart-lung machine going — but I thought, ‘Changes?  She’s sharp as a tack.’  Little by little it started happening, the taking things out of the refrigerator and putting them in the cupboard, forgetting the stove was on, wanting to run away.”  Kind points out that she was fortunate enough to have 24-hour help at her home.  “I have friends now that are dealing with it, and it’s not easy.  I tell them the book  The 36-Hour Day is really helpful in terms of letting you know what to expect and how to deal with it.”

Kind found that music remained a channel for communication and companionship with her mother, who had a “beautiful soprano voice.  She remembered the melodies even when she’d forgotten the words.  And when she forgot the melodies, she’d make new ones.”  After her mother was incapacitated in a fall, she’d sing for her at the hospital, she says.  She’s shared that magical musical connection elsewhere, like the Wexner Heritage Village facility in Columbus, Ohio, where she visited last month and joined the rabbi there in sharing music with Alzheimer’s patients.

“I sang and played tambourine and hugged them.  These people, they need to be touched and hugged.  It’s so easy to give a hug, so easy to give a smile,” she says.
Kind (roslynkind.com) is bringing her lustrous vocals to L.A.’s Catalina Jazz Club Oct. 21 and 22.

No Slowing Down for Barbra Streisand’s Favorite Songwriters, Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Barbra Streisand Film Music Society photo

Songwriting greats Alan and Marilyn Bergman aren’t taking much time to bask in the glow of Barbra Streisand’s widely-praised new “What Matters Most” tribute album of their songs.  They’re  in the midst of working on a new version of “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.”  The Emmy-winning television movie, about a lonely widow who finds love with a postal worker, was transformed into the Broadway musical (ital.) Ballroom (end ital.) in 1978, with songs by the Bergmans and Billy Goldenberg.  Now it’s being planned as a Broadway vehicle for Tyne Daly, with revamping including, says Alan, “five or six new songs” — “at least,” adds Marilyn — on which they’re collaborating with Marvin Hamlisch.  

 “We love to work with Marvin.  He’s a great composer and great fun to write with.  He’s funny.  He’s so enthusiastic,” notes Marilyn.

When will the show get going?  “As soon as we’re finished,” says Alan with a laugh.

 The Oscar, Emmy and Grammy award-winning couple, who’ve been contributing to the Great American Songbook for more than 50 years, have also been meeting this week with another favorite collaborator, Michel Legrand.  He flew in from France to discuss a new project. 

And they’re writing songs for a prospective animated film of the children’s book, “Broadway Chicken.”  In case you didn’t guess, according to Alan, “It’s about a chicken who becomes a Broadway star.” 

MEANWHILE:  The Bergmans favorite muse is, of course, Streisand, who recorded dozens of their songs — including such classics as “The Way We Were” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” — before “What Matters Most.”    

The new album contains immortal Bergman tunes that Streisand hasn’t recorded before — like “Windmills of Your Mind” and “Nice ‘n’ Easy.”  They knew nothing of her plans for the record until “it came up in public.  We were at the Motion Picture Academy one night, as part of a little panel discussion that Quincy Jones moderated, that Barbra and Alan and I were doing,” Marilyn recalls.  “She said, suddenly, apropos of I don’t know what — ‘My next album is going to be a tribute to you guys.'”

 It is, says Marilyn, “thrilling and moving.”  And they have a lot to say about Streisand’s treatments of their songs.  For example, her rendition of “Nice ‘n Easy,” which they penned for Frank Sinatra, is “much closer to the way I heard the song in my mind when we wrote it.  I heard it slow, as a ballad,” Marilyn adds.  “I remember being at the Sinatra session.  We were surprised he allowed writers to come.  We were kids, maybe he thought it would be an education.  The first time I heard the arrangement, I thought, ‘Oh!  That’s fast!’  I wasn’t so sure — but it became a classic record. 

“Somebody said that Sinatra sang about falling in love, and Barbra sang about making love,” she continues.  “I think that rings true.  I think his version was kind of a sexy romp, and Barbra’s record is very seductive.” 

Also surprising to the team is Streisand’s take on “Windmills of Your Mind,” which she bravely opens a capella.  She doesn’t need to hide behind orchestrations, points out Alan; “She has a great voice.”  And Marilyn adds, “It’s richer.  Whatever experience you gather in all your years comes through in your voice, and she’s lived.”

Gilles Marini Plans Gathering of ‘DWTS’ Pals to View His ‘Royal Pains’ Guesting

Gilles Marini, Reshma Shetty USA Network photos

PONDERS FUTURE OF ‘BROTHERS AND SISTERS’

The question of whether there’ll be a sixth season of ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters” has yet to be decided — but some are already starting a letter writing campaign.  That’s gratifying news to the show’s Gilles Marini, who points out, “I think the word as we speak is very positive.  You know, the network does not have to tell us tomorrow, ‘Oh, you guys are picked up.’  There is time.  They’ll crunch the numbers and see what their options are.

“I thank ABC/Disney for bringing us back for five seasons.  That is extremely rare,” he coninues.  “I hope that the show goes on and on, but whenever it is the end, I’d like to hear, ‘Guys, this is the last season.  Let’s ride it out the right way,’ and they allow us to close the storylines instead of abruptly stopping it.”  The Frenchman, whose romantic Luc Laurent character, love of Rachel Giffiths’ Sarah Walker, has become a “Brothers & Sisters” mainstay, adds, “The fan base around the world is massive.  The social network messages we get come from countries you’ve never even heard of before.  It’s very rewarding, and all that much more reason you don’t want to make the fans feel somehow let down.”

He also points out, “We’ve been pretty steady in the ratings, even against monsters like the Grammys.”

Sexy Marini plays “a choreographer who is very hard-headed” — who comes down with a life-threatening illness — on the season finale episode of the USA Network’s “Royal Pains” Feb. 24.  “Are they going to be able to save him?

Eh!  We’ll see,” says Marini.  He reports he’s going to have a big viewing party at home for the event.  “I think I’m going to invite Cheryl Burke and all my ‘Dancing With the Stars’ friends to come and check out my dancing on the show.   We are working on the tango for her wedding when my character gets extremely ill.”

Coincidentally, Marini was already friendly with “Royal Pains” lead Mark Feuerstein before his casting.  They shop at the same market in Studio City, he says, and “I see him there all the time.  I think he met my wife before I met him, talking about food.  I think we were by the tamales,” he jokes.  “He’s a very nice man.  It was a great group of people, doing this show.”

The “Royal Pains” guesting is Marini’s second such busman’s holiday this season.  He also played a magician involved in a murder case on “Castle” recently. “I had a month off ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ and as soon as a couple of producers heard that was the case, I got to do these other TV shows — two very good TV shows.  ‘Castle’ was such an event for me — from the wardrobe to the character, it was completely different from ‘Brothers and Sisters.'”

Barbra Streisand Universal photo

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES:  Besides “Glee’s” Lea Michelle getting to meet and interact with her idol, Barbra Streisand, behind the scenes at last Sunday’s Grammy show (wouldn’tcha love to see Streisand as Lea’s grandmother?  Wouldn’t it be the all-time cameo?) Streisand was in another little piece of show biz history.   While the audience showed its love with a standing ovation for Streisand’s performance of “Evergreen,” there was a love story in the orchestra behind her.   The conductor for this rendition of the song she had written for “A Star Is Born” and for which she won the Oscar as composer (the first female composer ever to win an Oscar in one of the musical categories) was the noted Ian Freebairn-Smith, who had conducted her recording of her song for the film and the eventual album three and a half decades before.   First violinist for the Grammy performance of the song was Sharon Freebairn-Smith who had filled the same position for the original recording session when she and Ian were first in love.  For Sunday night’s Emmy rendition of the song, their daughter, Vanessa, was a cellist.

MYTH AS GOOD AS A MILE?:  David E. Kelley’s much-talked-about “Wonder Woman” TV series reboot still needs its Wonder Woman/Diana Prince as this is being written, as well as her coworker and confidante, Mindy Mayer, and the acting CEO of Diana Prince’s company, Henry Demeter.  This version has the Amazonian super heroine as a corporate executive who keeps her crime-fighting persona secret.

OUT OF THIS WORLD:  While Stephen King fans are absorbed in the hot speculation over Ron Howard’s plans to adapt the novelist’s Dark Tower series for film AND television, Howard and co. are moving forward with casting for the first “Dark Tower” movie.  A potentially career-making role for an under-11-year-old boy is that of Jake Chambers, described as “the only child of an upper middle class Manhattan family who has visions of another world and is convinced he has something of cosmic importance to do” — while his family believes he’s mentally unhinged.  The flick is due to commence production in September in New York, with a 2013 release date already slated.

Still to be determined, of course, is who will fill the “Dark Tower” lead that will last through the feature and following mini-series.  Howard recently addressed internet reports that Javier Bardem and Viggo Mortensen are prospects, noting that getting such a long commitment from such big names would be complicated to say the least.

‘Little Fockers’ Gears Up for September Start

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo in Universal's "Meet the Parents"

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo in Universal's "Meet the Parents"

“Little Fockers” – the third installment of the Focker comedies starring by Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, and Teri Polo — will be rolling the beginning of September, a couple of months later than initially planned, with rehearsals to begin next month or August.  The delay, according to Polo, has to do with Stiller’s crowded work schedule on another project.

What does she think of the script?  “We’re not seeing the script ’til we start shooting, basically,” says the lovely actress, who just turned 40.  “They’re working on that as well.”

For Polo, the “Fockers” films – also starring Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, and Owen Wilson — are “a dream job…it’s an honor to be part of this.”  It also happens to fit well into her personal life as the mother of two.  “My daughter is young enough, she can come on the set,” she says of two-year-old Bailey.  Her son Griffin, who turns seven this summer, “came onto the set of ‘Meet the Fockers’ with me,” she recalls.  “It’s being shot in L.A. so I really don’t have to break away from them.  It’s nice to have a little bit of normalcy, then a little bit of abnormalcy.”

The actress also lucked out, schedule-wise, she says, in the production of NBC’s July 26 and Aug. 2 “The Storm” mini series with James Van Der Beek, David James Elliott, Treat Williams and John Larroquette.  “I’m in the beginning of the movie, hunting down what’s going on and hunting down the bad guys,” says Polo, who plays “a very feisty, ornery personality” in the mini.  “The weather only gets really bad when I’m out of the picture.”