Ann Hampton Callaway can turn a theater into a living room with several hundred of her newest best friends, sharing what's on her mind and breezing through a dozen songs. She enthralls with her special way of bringing the lyrics home and nuancing the music for a different take on the ordinary.
As a tribute to "The Streisand Songbook," Callaway didn't in the least mimic or try to be Streisand - she retained her persona while showing why we think of a song written by someone else "as belonging" to Barbra Streisand. In describing Streisand's ability "to do everything in every genre - from art song to pop rock," Callaway equally showcased her own range and flexibility.
Her 'inspiring moments' became our own. We liked them all from the well-known to the not so well-known, including Jack Everly's arrangement of "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl and the Callaway and Cunliffe arrangement of "A Sleepin' Bee" from House of Flowers.
The ISO players opened the program with an Irving Berlin Medley, Carmen Dragon's arch arrangement of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" from Jubilee and the Overture to Funny Girl. For the rest of the program ISO players provided splendid accompaniment for Callaway, who further gifted with an encore of a shimmering "On a Clear Day."