The Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood packed the house as people gathered for Barbara Streisand's 70th birthday bash (in proxy.) This is one night a year when Barbara allows her songs to be sung and each and every presenter masterfully belted out melodies made famous by Barbara, herself.
Hosted by Clifford Bell and Katharine "Kat" Kramer, the pair introduced act after amazing act. Shelley Goldstein introduced the evening with a combination of Barbara songs while Shelley Markham played the piano.
The youngest in the house, Alex Theordora Spurlock and Autum Witz sang their hearts out.
Other remarkable acts were Brad Griffith, who belted out a mixture of Barbara songs, Beth Lapides with Mitch Kaplan, Teresa Tudury, the team of Brad Ellis and Eydie Alyson, Julie Garnye, Ilene Graff with Ben Lanzarone at the piano, Quinn Johnson, the music of Kid Hollywood at Bedroom Volumes, Patty Reid, Shawn Ryan, Dolores Scozzesi, Joan Tatham, Lauren White, David Zack and David Zimmerman. In the band were Jonathan Dinerstein, Steve Rawlins, Peter Smith, Dominic Thiuroix on bass and Tom Bowe on drums.
Each act was unique and many had standing ovations. Some sang from Barbara's French Album, others from her movies as Yentl and The Way We Were.
Special guests, as George Chakaris, appeared in the audience to applaud.
Happy Birthday, Barbara Joan Streisand, may you have many many more.
The tickets of $20 (plus a two drink minimum were reasonable, but the service was slow and the food, while good, was overpriced with small portions.
Proceeds from the evening went to "Songs for Isabella" , a grass roots fundraising campaign that was initiated by Clifford Bell and Belle Zwerdling in 2010. Only a few months before, in August 2009, her parents found the two year old Isabella Vahanian breahting but unresponsive. Rushing her to the hospital, they discovered she suffered from AML Leukemia. While in the ICU, the baby received six rounds of chemotherapy as her frantic parents, Greg and Wendy Vahanian took turns watching over her and simultaneously caring for their 8- year-old son. The process, which took eight months, became a full time job.
For more information about Isabella go to www.talbertfamilyfoundation.org/pages/Isabella.html