Fascinating Aida’s Liza Pulman spoke to Emma Clarendon ahead of her show at The Other Palace.
Hi Liza, thanks so much for talking to me. How excited are you about being back in London? London is where I was born. It’s where I trained and where I have spent almost my entire adult life! Getting to play this show, that means so much to me, in an exciting and vibrant west end theatre is just the greatest privilege. We have already been lucky enough to have sell-out shows at Zedels and at Wiltons Music Hall so for us to bring LIZA PULMAN SINGS STREISAND to the fantastic The Other Palace is the absolute cherry on top of our London cake!
What is it about Barbra Streisand that you admire the most? Like so many singers I grew up watching her films and listening to her albums. I have had such a ridiculously eclectic career myself, working both at Glyndbourne Opera and in the West End and then of course joining Fascinating Aida, that one of the things I most admire about Barbra Streisand is her range. She has always been unafraid to do it all-to slip on a banana skin one minute and then break your heart the next. She directs her own movies, she sings any kind of music that she wants to and she refuses to be put in a box and at 76, after 55 years at the top of her profession she is still releasing provocative new albums. Whats not to like?!
Are there any songs not in the show which you wish you could include? Zillions!! She has recorded so many songs throughout her career that I would have to write Liza Pulman Sings Streisand 2,3 &4 to even begin to get then all in!
Have you any particular favourite songs in the show you enjoy performing? Oh Lordy, SO many. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers is a great love of mine because it was one of the first of her songs that I took and made my own, years ago when I was still a classical singer, but one of my favourite moments in the show is when I sing New York State of Mind. I have an amazing band on stage with me all night, The Stardust Ensemble, and in that Billy Joel number there’s a tenor sax solo that gives me goose pimples every time I hear it. My MD, Joe Atkins and myself do all our own arrangements of these amazing songs, but the show finishes with Streisand’s bluesy version of Happy Days Are Here Again. Our orchestration builds and builds and builds and it is without doubt one of the most exciting musical and theatrical moments i’ve ever experienced.
What do you love the most about performing Barbra Streisand’s music? Despite all my years of singing, in so many different mediums, singing the repertoire of Barbra Streisand has brought things out in my voice I didn’t even know were there. It has been the most wonderfully liberating experience. Her material requires such range and such control that I have had to ask things of my voice that I have never done before, and I have loved every single moment of it. I am at great pains to explain to people that this is not a tribute show in any way. There are no curly wigs, no-one dresses up as Neil Diamond and I don’t do an impersonation of the great lady. In fact, remarkably, I would say that it is through singing the amazing songs of Barbra Streisand that I have really found the voice of Liza Pulman.
What’s next in store for you? We still have a lot of Streisand to left to perform. Thankfully audiences are loving the show and so we have more exciting dates planned for 2019 (watch this space!), but I am also working on a new solo show which will be packed with fantastic songs, new arrangements, comedy and of course my amazing band, but this show will have me in the middle of it and not La Streisand! Liza Sings Liza …(working title, of course!).
By Emma Clarendon