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Lea Michele's Road To 'Funny Girl': How Her Latest Broadway Role Is A Full-Circle "Dream Come True"
Lea Michele as Fanny Brice.

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews

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Lea Michele's Road To 'Funny Girl': How Her Latest Broadway Role Is A Full-Circle "Dream Come True"

As the 'Glee' star and Barbra Streisand superfan starts her turn as Fanny Brice, GRAMMY.com charts Lea Michele's fortuitous — and sometimes controversial — path to 'Funny Girl.'

GRAMMYs/Sep 6, 2022 - 08:06 pm

Lea Michele is achieving that often elusive dream: the role of a lifetime. The popular musical theater actress and singer, who is best known for starring in the hit series Glee, will be taking the stage as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl starting on Sept. 6. It's a role that she and many of her fans have long waited for her to portray.

"A dream come true is an understatement," Michele declared on Instagram in July. "I'm so incredibly honored to join this amazing cast and production and return to the stage playing Fanny Brice on Broadway. See you September 6th." 

It's a full-circle moment for Michele, who has cited Funny Girl's original star, Barbra Streisand, as her role model. It's also a tall order: Streisand won a Best Actress Oscar for the 1968 film adaptation, and until this year, no one has dared to revive the role because of her stellar and daunting vocal performance. 

But even before hitting the Broadway stage as Ms. Brice, Michele has already proven she has what it takes. She capably tackled Streisand's showstopper and signature tune "Don't Rain On My Parade" during a pivotal moment on the first season of Glee, then repeated her performance live at the 2010 Tony Awards. By Glee's fifth season, her character of Rachel Berry — who sung a few Funny Girl songs throughout the series — moved to New York City with the dream of starring in said musical and landed the part. (But soon after, Rachel gave up the role for a television show that tanked.) Now, the actress is finally getting to play Fanny in real life.

It's a truly meta moment. But the road for Lea Michele to Funny Girl has been long and not without its hurdles. The casting has also generated controversy, likely due to accusations of bullying by former Glee castmates as well as the abrupt exit of the revival's originally casted star Beanie Feldstein. Regardless, Michele's casting in Funny Girl is giving the revived musical a new lease of life on Broadway — and achieving one of Michele's lifelong goals.

It all began in late 1995. Lea Michele started her career as a child actress on Broadway at just 8 years old, first appearing as a replacement for Young Cosette and Young Eponine in the original production of Les Misérables. After a year and a half in that role, she soon landed her second stage gig as the Little Girl in a Toronto production of Ragtime, followed by another year of the role on Broadway. 

"Coming into Ragtime, I had a pretty good foundation that Les Miz gave me and then I was able to work with Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, Peter Friedman and Brian Stokes Mitchell," Michele told Broadway World in 2007. "They are the most amazing actors in my opinion on Broadway and they just taught me everything that I know now."

After taking time off for her junior high and high school education, Michele bounced back to Broadway in 2004 and landed the role of Shprintze, one of the five daughters of Teyve (Alfred Molina), in a two-year revival of Fiddler On The Roof. Accepting the role was a major turning point, as she opted to decline attending NYU in order to chase her Broadway dreams. In November 2006, she landed the ill-fated female teen lead of Wendla in the hit musical Spring Awakening, a role she played until May 2008. While the cast drew acclaim for their roles, Michele told Harper's Bazaar in 2011, "I didn't get a [Tony] nomination like the boys did, which was a big learning experience for me."

Then Glee happened. Michele had met the show's creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy while working on Spring Awakening, and he wrote the part of Rachel Berry with her in mind. Not only did Michele ace the audition, but she even chastised the piano player for skipping a verse — very much in the vein of the pushy diva lead.

An unexpected phenomenon, the first two seasons of Glee made it a smash hit for Fox. The show focused on a glee club of talented outcasts who coped with the pressures of high school, as well as issues of diversity, inclusion, and numerous socially relevant topics. Glee averaged around 10 million viewers for the first two seasons, also spawning two platinum and three gold albums as well as two national tours. Perhaps the headline for a CNN story in November 2010 said it best: "The 'Glee' effect: Singing is cool again." 

While Glee featured an ensemble cast, Michele's role of Rachel Berry became the standout, thanks in part to Berry's on-again, off-again relationship with Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), the high school star quarterback who discovers a love of singing; Michele's eventual real-life relationship with Monteith (which started in 2012) added to their appeal. The show made a dramatic impact on Michele's career: She became a spokesperson/model for Dove, Nike, Candie's, and L'Oréal Paris, and appeared in commercials for Chevrolet, the HP TouchPad, Old Navy, Lyft, and ZOLA over the next several years.

But the Glee effect began to fizzle by its third and fourth seasons. And with Monteith's unexpected passing in July 2013, the show's future was even more in question. By Glee's truncated sixth season in 2015, it had plummeted to one-third of the original viewership. A Rachel Berry spin-off proposed by Murphy never materialized. 

Amid coping with the devastating loss of Monteith and the waning success of Glee, Michele pushed on. She released her debut solo album, Louder, in February 2014, which included a highly personal song about Monteith's death called "If You Say So."

"Grief goes with you every day, whatever you're doing," she told Ellen DeGeneres in December 2013 while promoting Louder. "Whether there's great moments, when there's hard moments … I'd rather be at work with the people that I love who are going through the same." She added, "I'm trying to do my best for him, because that's what [Cory] would have wanted."

In the post-Glee years, Michele kept busy. She linked back up with Ryan Murphy for his black comedy slasher series Scream Queens, playing antagonist Hester Ulrich for both seasons. In 2017, Michele guest-starred on an episode of the Hulu anthology series Dimension 404, and she joined the cast of the series The Mayor, portraying the chief of staff to a struggling hip-hop artist who's elected to that office. 

That same year, she released her second album, Places, which was more theatrical in nature than her pop-oriented debut. As Michele told NPR in May 2017, "it was important for me, with recording this second record, that I really connect with my true sound... I wanted a title that was sort of a call to all of that, and a call back to my roots."

Michele also semi-returned to her Glee roots with a headlining slot at Elsie Fest, a Broadway-inspired music festival co-created by fellow Glee star Darren Criss. The former castmates took their reunion one step further in 2018 for the co-headlining LM/DC Tour, which hit North America, the UK, and Ireland.

In 2019, Michele explored an array of projects: launching a health and wellness digital series for the Ellen DeGeneres Network called Well, Well, Well with Lea Michele; playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid: An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience with Harvey Fierstein and Cheech Marin; releasing a holiday album called Christmas in the City; and then a starring turn in ABC's holiday TV film Same Time, Next Christmas. She also married businessman Randy Zeich.

In an April 2020 interview with Health, Michele was asked if ambition is part of her identity. "I work really hard; I pride myself on that," she said. "I've had a career since I was 8 years old. Glee was such a massive success, keeping that up is not the easiest thing. Having people see me as someone other than Rachel Berry — although I love and I miss her and the show — is a challenge. So I work hard to keep my career as strong as I want it to be." 

But that year also brought controversy into her spotlight. After Michele made comments about the tragic death of George Floyd and her support of Black Lives Matter on social media, her ormer Glee castmate Samantha Ware shot back with a harsh rebuttal, accusing Michele of making her time on the show's sixth season "a living hell" ripe with "traumatic microaggressions" that made her question her Hollywood career. A few former castmates from past projects confirmed Michele's bullying behavior. 

While Ware's tweet implied racism, when Variety later interviewed her, she clarified that she was not calling Michele a racist, but that she did play on her white privilege in knowing she would not be fired for bullying other people on set.

Lea apologized for her transgressions on social media. "Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused," she wrote. "We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect my own shortcomings." 

The accusations led Michele to losing her partnership with HelloFresh, and ultimately resulted in a rather quiet period until November 2021, when she released a covers album dedicated to her son, Ever Leo Rich, who was born in August 2020.

The Glee controversy and her idle year are partially what made Michele's Funny Girl casting rather unexpected. But it was also the way it happened. 

When Funny Girl finally returned to the Great White Way in April, producers originally casted Beanie Feldstein (Hello Dolly!) as Fanny and former Glee villain Jane Lynch in the role of her mother. (Michele even congratulated Feldstein in an Instagram comment, noting, "This is going to be epic!!") While the initial production started off well, mixed reviews and gradually waning ticket sales forced producers to make a choice as to how to proceed.

Re-enter Lea Michele. She and Broadway icon Tovah Feldshuh were announced to take over the lead roles of daughter and mother on Sept. 6. Though there was some backlash over her casting, the jump in ticket sales showed that it may be what the show needed: Many premium seats quickly jumped up to nearly $2,500 online. 

Funny Girl is about real-life vaudeville performer Fanny Brice, who was not traditionally glamorous and was a big dreamer with self-deprecating humor and charm. In a Sunday Times magazine interview from 1969, Streisand said, "I just played Fanny Brice as a part — I never studied her whole life. I felt that we were so instinctively alike that I didn't have to work to get her, y'know."

Lea Michele seemed to relate. "I'm 5-foot-3. I don't look like a lot of other people, you know what I mean? I look like I'm 12," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2011. "How many managers told me, 'Get a nose job. You're not pretty enough'? But I proved them wrong." (She's mirroring the past in more ways than one — Streisand wasn't the first choice for Fanny Brice either.)

While many Lea Michele fans are elated by the prospect of this new Funny Girl incarnation, some are dismissive due to the revelations about her backstage behavior. Either way, it boils down to a classic American redemption story about building a second chapter in one's life

It also offers a very meta moment for the performer. Along with following in the footsteps of her idol, her Glee alter ego conquered Broadway with Funny Girl (albeit very briefly). Can Lea Michele pull off the same trick in real life, but turn it into a star-making comeback? Places, everyone.

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GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson

From timeless classics to infectious pop gems, GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson goes deep on six influential GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(To commemorate the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame's 40th Anniversary in 2013, GRAMMY.com has launched GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations. The ongoing series will feature conversations with various individuals who will identify GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that have influenced them and helped shape their careers.)

Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson grew up in Chicago in the '80s and '90s, but it was a piece of classic '70s disco that first made her want to put her talents to use as a professional performer.

"When I heard 'Got To Be Real' [by Cheryl Lynn] it just grabbed me," says Hudson. "That was the song that made me think, 'Oh God — that's what I want to do.' I'd mark off a little stage on the floor and hold my hairbrush microphone and jump up and down. I'd lose it."

A solid disco beat can still move her, but Hudson also cites gospel music as a major influence, having sung often in the church in her childhood with an extended family of talented vocalists.

Hudson got the chance to make her own music career real in 2004 when she delivered several knockout performances as a contestant on "American Idol." Her breakout role in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls followed in 2006, and two years later she took home Best R&B Album honors for her self-titled debut at the 51st GRAMMY Awards [link to show page].

With plans underway for her third studio album, Hudson reigns as one of the most gifted and affecting performers of her generation. Here are six recordings from the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame that continue to make her want to reach for the microphone — hairbrush or otherwise.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Arista (1985)
Album
Inducted 2013

"I have a hard time remembering what I was doing the first time I heard a lot of the Whitney songs because I went crazy for everything she did. That first album really had an effect on me. 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'How Will I Know,' 'Greatest Love Of All' — just saying the names of the songs makes me want to cry all over again. I do remember that 'Greatest Love Of All' was a total game changer for me. It was a song that had a very different kind of power. It didn't make you want to dance like my other favorites had done — this one captivated you. It put you into a trance. You started listening to that song and the world around you went silent.

"Whitney had that effect right from the start. There's a time to dance, and there's a time to listen, and Whitney had a voice that you had to listen to. The thing that has always amazed me is that her music is so powerful, and yet it's so soothing. In some ways it's perfect ear candy, but it can also move you to tears."

"Lady Marmalade"
LaBelle
Epic (1975)
Single
Inducted 2003

"When it is time to dance, this is the [song]. I think everybody has the experience with music that certain songs are powerful enough to take you right back to a certain time and place. There are songs you appreciate for the music, but there are songs you just feel are like old friends — you've got some history with them. For me, hearing Patti LaBelle and the group singing 'Lady Marmalade' takes me right back to the times when I was first getting so excited about music. This is the kind of song that just made me jump up and want to be a part of what was going on.

"I also remember being impressed by the look and the image of LaBelle too, which I didn't really know about until I'd already been familiar with the song. [They were] so much fun, and so expressive. I wish things were a little more like that now. Sometimes it feels like everything's been done. You think somebody has a new look and it turns out LaBelle [were] already there.

"Oh Happy Day"
Edwin Hawkins Singers
Buddah (1969)
Single
Inducted 1999

"I started out singing in church choruses, and even before I was singing I was sitting [on] my grandmother's lap while she was singing the chorus on Sunday or at choir rehearsal. My whole family sang — my grandmother was the youngest of 11 siblings and they all sang together as a group. I remember they'd do these warm-ups where they'd go around and everybody in the family had to sing their name: 'My name is Jennifer Hudson, how do you do?'

"I always loved that feeling of being surrounded by music and family, and that's a feeling I get from 'Oh Happy Day,' which is kind of funny because for all the singing we did in church, I don't think we sang that song. Once I heard it though, I couldn't get enough of it. It's one of those great pieces of music that's a real church song, but it gets you there just like any great up-tempo pop song. It gives you that great feeling of energy and makes you smile. It does what the title tells you it does — makes your day a happier one."

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Simon & Garfunkel
Columbia (1970)
Single
Inducted 1998

"I just absolutely love this song, and have from the first time I heard it. But for a long time what I was familiar with was the Aretha Franklin version. A friend finally introduced me to the Simon & Garfunkel original. Their recording is so perfect and so heavenly — every time I hear it I either want to sing along with the whole thing, or just say, 'Hallelujah.' The sound is so pure and the arrangement is so beautiful, it just sends you away. Then, when you really listen to the words, it's beautiful on a whole different level. What does everyone want in life but a bridge over troubled water?

"This is the kind of song that makes me wonder: When it was being written and recorded, did they have a sense of how amazing and timeless this was? Did they know from the start it was a masterpiece? I think we musicians know when we've done the best we can do, and that's a great feeling. But I wonder if there's an extra awareness when you create something that's just going to last forever. This song is definitely in that category."

"People"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1964)
Single
Inducted 1998

"The Way We Were"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1974)
Single
Inducted 2008

"I don't remember my first time hearing Barbra Streisand. I just think I was always aware that she was the top — that she's as good as you can get as a singer and a performer.

"The first time I really became aware of just how special a talent she had was when I actually had to get it together to sing a couple of her songs at one of Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY [Galas]. It was a tribute for her, and two days before the show Clive asked me to sing 'People' and 'The Way We Were.' I had to take on these two gigantic signature songs — songs that aren't easy to deliver — and sing them with her sitting right in front of me. Are you kidding me? I almost lost my mind.

"She makes the first few lines of 'People' sound so easy, but melodically it's very difficult to get it just right. To this day I want to sing that over again and get it right — a little more right. I think I must have spoken to her after I sang, but I was so terrified I don't remember a thing. I think she was smiling, but I don't know. I love her. I'd sing for her again if I could — but maybe not one of her songs."

(Jennifer Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. As an actress, her role in the 2006 film Dreamgirls earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A day after the death of Whitney Houston on Feb. 11, 2012, Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You" as a special tribute on the 54th GRAMMY Awards telecast.)

(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis and Elvis: My Best Man.)

 

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MusiCares MAP Fund Charity Auction Launched

GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions offers exclusive memorabilia from seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Following the seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit honoring Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman on May 6, GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions has launched the MusiCares MAP Fund Charity Auction. Presented in partnership with Kompolt, the auction is open through May 19 and features a variety of autographed music memorabilia, including items signed backstage at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, Gahan and Paramore.

Additional auction items include a framed issue of Rolling Stone signed by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger; vintage memorabilia signed by Tony Bennett, Jackson Browne, Annie Lennox, Rod Stewart, and Barbra Streisand; guitars autographed by Kings Of Leon, Korn, Tom Petty, Kenny Rogers, and Keith Urban; unique memorabilia signed by Jeff Beck, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Muse, Katy Perry, and Rihanna; and a 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards VIP Experience for two including rehearsal passes and hotel accommodations.

To place your bid on items featured in the auction, visit www.ebay.com/grammy. All proceeds will benefit MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation.

Barbra Streisand's golden debut in "Funny Girl"
Barbra Streisand in the 1968 film adaptation of "Funny Girl"

Photo: Mondadori/Getty Images

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Barbra Streisand's golden debut in "Funny Girl"

Fifty years ago, Barbra Streisand garnered accolades and critical acclaim for her role as Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl" on Broadway

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

It was 50 years ago today that Barbra Streisand opened on Broadway in "Funny Girl." None of the opening-night reviewers actually said "She's like buttah" (to borrow Linda Richman's [aka Mike Myers'] famous line from SNL's "Coffee Talk" sketch), but that's definitely the impression they left.

Time raved, "Some stars merely brighten up a marquee; Barbra Streisand sets an entire theater ablaze. … Actress, songstress, dancer, comedienne, mimic, clown — she is the theater's new girl for all seasons."

In his column in the Daily News, Ed Sullivan wrote, "Barbra Streisand in 'Funny Girl' is the greatest thing to hit Broadway in too many seasons."

Writing in the New York Journal-American, society columnist Suzy Knickerbocker flatly said, "Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice is the star of the decade."

Celebrities who attended the opening night party at the Rainbow Room also sang Streisand's praises. Lauren Bacall raved, "I absolutely saw the best thing I ever saw in my life in that girl. She can act. She can sing. She has an electric personality. Which is what makes a star."

Sophie Tucker, who was a peer of Brice's in the '20s and '30s, enthused, "She has everything that I will call a star. She is star material from now on. Nothing will stop Barbra Streisand."

Fred Robbins, who hosted the "Robbins Nest" radio show on WNEW-FM in New York, interviewed Streisand in her dressing room at the Winter Garden Theatre on opening night. "In your wildest dreams, did you think it would happen to this dimension?" he asked her.

"Of course," Streisand quickly replied. "I always wanted to be famous and rich and [a] star. And I'm not that rich yet, and I'm not that famous, so I still have more to go."

Streisand was already a star by the time "Funny Girl" opened on Broadway on March 26, 1964. Each of her first three albums had made the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. Her second album had climbed all the way to No. 2.

But "Funny Girl" took Streisand to an even higher level. On April 10 she appeared on the cover of Time. On May 12 she won her first two GRAMMY Awards: Album Of The Year and Best Vocal Performance, Female, both for her debut album, The Barbra Streisand Album. That spring, Streisand was also nominated for an Emmy (for her legendary 1963 appearance on "The Judy Garland Show") and a Tony (for "Funny Girl"). Streisand was nominated for three of the four major show business awards in the space of just a few months — an astonishing degree of success for any performer, much less one so young: Streisand was just 22.

Producer Ray Stark had worked on developing a musical based on the life of Fanny Brice (who was his mother-in-law) for a decade. "It's been a long pull," he told The New York Times in December 1963, when the show was in rehearsals prior to its out-of-town opening in Boston. "And I can't deny that there were times when I was ready to give up. But the idea wouldn't let me rest. Casting always was a problem. But I'm happy now. Whom else could you want for Fanny than Barbra Streisand? From the moment you saw her in [1962's] 'I Can Get It For You Wholesale,' you knew she was it."

Streisand told WNEW's Robbins that she intentionally didn't research Brice's life, or listen to her recordings. "I didn't want to approach it as an imitation or anything like that," she said. "They hired me because [of] whatever organic things we had similar. … I'm not singing 'My Man.' And this is not really truthful, the story, I mean it's based on the truth, but it's a writer's play, it's not a biography. … I'm approaching it as a character in a play who could have been any woman who was torn between a career [and] marriage and has problems of her own."

Broadway veterans Jule Styne and Bob Merrill co-wrote the score, which yielded two of Streisand's signature songs: the exquisite "People" and the exhilarating "Don't Rain On My Parade."

Nonetheless, the show had a bumpy road on its way to its Broadway opening. Previews in Boston drew tepid reviews (though the critics all praised Streisand). The headline for Billboard's review of the Boston opening lacked poetry, but got the point across. "Barbra Great As Fanny, But Show Tedious Stuff."

With the Broadway opening looming, the company regrouped. The show's director, Garson Kanin, left the production. Jerome Robbins was brought in to oversee the show (his credit was production supervisor). The Broadway opening was pushed back a month as the show, especially the second act, was reworked and tightened.

The show went on to receive eight Tony nominations — second only that season to "Hello, Dolly!," which amassed 11. But "Funny Girl" went 0 for 8. It lost to "Hello, Dolly!" in five categories, including Best Musical and Best Score (Composer and Lyricist).

Interestingly, the "Funny Girl" original cast album fared better than the "Dolly" caster at the GRAMMYs, probably because of Streisand's recording pedigree. Funny Girl was nominated for Album Of The Year at the 7th GRAMMY Awards. ("Hello, Dolly!" wasn't.) And it beat "Hello, Dolly!" for Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album.

"Funny Girl" was the first Broadway cast album to receive an Album Of The Year nomination. In all the years since, only one other cast album — Jesus Christ Superstar — has equaled the feat. (The original cast album is slated for release April 29 as a special 50th anniversary deluxe edition on CD and vinyl LP, with a 48-page booklet of exclusive photos.)

The show's standout song, "People," was nominated for both Record and Song Of The Year. Streisand's performance of the ballad brought her another GRAMMY for Best Vocal Performance, Female.

"People" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1998. Funny Girl was inducted six years later.

Streisand remained with the show until Dec. 26, 1965. (Her replacement was Mimi Hines, who played the role until the show concluded its Broadway run on July 1, 1967.) In spring 1966, Streisand took the show to London for a 14-week run.

In 1968 Streisand starred in the film adaptation of "Funny Girl." The movie (unlike the stage show) included some of Brice's old hits: "My Man," "Second Hand Rose" and "I'd Rather Be Blue Over You (Than Happy With Somebody Else)." The movie received eight Academy Award nominations. Only one movie got more that year — "Oliver!" led with 11.

On April 14, 1969, Streisand won the best actress Oscar in a tie with Katharine Hepburn. It was the first (and remains the only) time that an actress has won an Oscar for playing a role that she had originated in a Broadway musical.

In accepting the award, Streisand noted, "Sitting there tonight, I was thinking that the first script of 'Funny Girl' was written when I was only 11 years old. Thank God it took so long to get it right!"

(Paul Grein, a veteran music journalist and historian, writes regularly for Yahoo Music.)

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More Stars To Honor Barbra Streisand

Jeff Beck, LeAnn Rimes, Seal, and BeBe Winans added to performance lineup for GRAMMY Week MusiCares Person of the Year tribute

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

Current GRAMMY nominees Jeff Beck and LeAnn Rimes, and GRAMMY winners Seal and BeBe Winans are the latest performers announced for the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Barbra Streisand, to be held during GRAMMY Week on Feb. 11 in Los Angeles. They join previously announced performers Tony Bennett; singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth; GRAMMY-nominated "Glee" cast members Darren Criss, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison; Herbie Hancock; Diana Krall; Barry Manilow; Donna Summer; Stevie Wonder; and singer Nikki Yanofsky. Streisand, an eight-time GRAMMY-winning artist and current nominee, will close the evening with her own special performance. Additional performers will be announced soon.

Proceeds from the annual Person of the Year tribute, now in its 21st year, provide essential support for MusiCares.

The event, a private charity fundraiser, is attended by industry VIPs and others who help support the work of The Recording Academy-affiliated MusiCares Foundation, which offers programs and services to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance. The MusiCares MAP Fund provides access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community regardless of their financial circumstances, and MusiCares Safe Harbor Rooms offer a support network to those in recovery while they are participating in the production of televised music shows, such as the GRAMMY Awards, and other major music events.

The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT. For information on purchasing tables and tickets to the event, please contact Dana Tomarken at 310.392.3777.

Past MusiCares Person of the Year honorees include Tony Bennett, Bono, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, David Crosby, Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Sting, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, and Neil Young.