Barbra Streisand, the legend and queen of musical theatre, with songs made famous like ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’, ‘People’ and ‘The Way We Were’ are being taken to the stage by Liza Pulman in Liverpool in Liza Pulman Sings Streisand.
Known for her appearances in both West End musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Michael Ball and making up one-third of the satirical trio Fascinating Aida, Liza is performing in her one-woman show to celebrate the music of Streisand.
After a successful tour of Liza Pulman Sings Hollywood, singing the songs of the Hollywood movies, including “Evergreen” from the film “A Star is Born“, was the inspiration for this tour. “And when I sang it, so many people said to me ‘My god, you sound so like Streisand’,” Liza recalled. “I’d never really thought about it before, it had never really occurred to me.” After listening back to herself and hearing the similarity, Liza put it down to the classical training that she received at university. “Streisand’s mum was a classical singer,” she explained. “I think some of those qualities that you hear in her voice probably came from her mum. And some of those qualities in me come from that time that I spent as a classical singer.”
With musical direction from Joseph Atkins and the accompaniment from The Stardust Ensemble, Liza speaks about how close the group and the relationship they have together on stage. “There is seven of us, including me, onstage and we are a proper little unit and family, and I am incredibly proud of the work we do together. The guys they are wonderful musicians, and they are fantastic people to be on tour and stage with – it’s just the most fun I’ve ever had.”
With thousands of songs that she could have chosen, Liza emphasises that this is not a tribute show or her trying to do an impression of Babs – she takes the songs and adds a Liza touch to them, making them her own. Closing the show with her favourite Streisand song, Babs’ rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again“, Liza takes elements from Barbra’s version and puts her own spin on it – “Barbra, and I share the songs” she gushed.
The rehearsal period has been a little bit more confusing than usual shows, as Joe and Liza live opposite ends of the country. Commuting between London and Cornwall (Liza’s home), the duo sends voice notes to each other and have even tried Skype calling each other – which leads to amusing timing errors with slight delays, Liza tells me.
Growing up, both of Liza’s parents were in the performing industry – her father was the famous screenwriter Jack Pulman (I Claudius, War and Peace) and her mother the actress Barbara Young (Last of The Summer Wine, Coronation Street, Theatre Workshop). “It was pretty clear that I was going to go into the theatre”, she stated. “I think by the time it came for me to chose my way, I’d always love to sing, so I went to music college rather than to drama school”.
However, after six years at music college and emerging as an opera singer, including working with Opera North and in some fabulous venues, Liza realised “it wasn’t really where my heart was”. After joining the musical theatre world, she encountered Fascinating Aida in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since. “The things that I want to do with my voice and the way I want to reach people, it could not be in the medium of opera to do it,” Liza explained.
In between getting married last summer and ahead of Fascinating Aida’s commitments, Liza is passionate about this tour of Liza Pulman Sings Streisand as it goes from strength to strength, and is excited to see where things lead – maybe over the sea to America? Emphasising the importance of this glamorous evening of cabaret, Liza explained that New York is “a town that would welcome it.”
Catch Liza Pulman Sings Streisand at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on the 29th April, tickets and information can be found here.