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Lea Michele reflects on singing Streisand

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 21st 2009 12:38PM
lea_michele_gleeI have to admit that from the first time I saw Glee, I loved Lea Michele. The character of Rachel Berry, that "determined to be a star and I don't care who knows it" attitude appealed to me. I recognized that feeling, too, because I remember watching Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl in the movies and having the same feeling of identification. When Streisand finished singing "I'm the Greatest Star" as Fanny Brice, I was convinced. Well, Lea feels it, too. She's a major Streisand fan and she loved singing a Barbra song on Glee.

Every time Lea Michele has had a chance to go diva -- like "Maybe This Time" and "Defying Gravity" -- she's displayed that Streisandesque musical power.

So when the winter finale had the New Directions show choir at sectionals and Rachel stepped up to sing "Don't Rain on My Parade," I was on the edge of my seat. I wondered if Lea would pull it off. I say that because it's a very hard song to do, everything is on the offbeat and it's a driving melody that requires a big voice and a lot of stamina.

In my estimation, Lea Michele's version was fantastic. The best I've heard since Barbra Streisand! I wondered if Lea was worried about singing it and it turns out that she was. First, Funny Girl is her favorite movie of all time and, second, Barbra is her idol.

"She is one of the greatest performers in the entire world. And that song is such a legendary song. But I knew I had it somewhere in me. The fact that Ryan Murphy trusted me and gave me that opportunity is so incredible. And once I went in the recording studio and I sang it once through, it was really the first time I knew that I could do it. I had never sung the song before."

Now, of course, begins the speculation. Perhaps in her hiatus from Glee next spring Broadway should do a revival of Funny Girl with Lea Michele as Fanny Brice? I'd pay for tickets to see that. Do you know that since Streisand, there has never been another production of Funny Girl? Composer Jule Styne, who wrote the score with Bob Merrill, tried for years to get it back on Broadway, but they never found the right actress.

Hmm...maybe Lea's the right actress. And maybe Streisand should come back to Broadway to direct it -- after all, who knows the material better?

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Kara

I agree with Jayne...Although they DO use lots of autotune in the show (especially on Cory), I don't think they used that much for Lea Michele. I've heard live stuff as well, and since she comes from Broadway, her voice is already wonderful. She basically sounds the same as when she sings live. For example, "On My Own" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rngAIY-0ZoI

I kind of doubt they use much autotune on her. : I felt like the songs she sang that sounded most autotuned were "No Air", "Crush", and "Smile (Lily Allen Version)". "Don't Rain on My Parade" didn't sound really autotuned to me.

December 25 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jayne

I never said Glee didn't use autotune but really how much was in that song? Very little I suspect cause I have heard a lot of live stuff form Lea. So you don't think she did a good job. Why do people on the internet always feel the need to post the negative stuff. I am sure some post production was available even to Barbra.

Point is the song was really good and she did a great job, why point to just the negative?

December 21 2009 at 10:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Creep

I never have celebrity crushes, but I do have a crush on this girl.

December 21 2009 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dj

for people who seem to know so much about autotune, it's a wonder you don't know more about film/tv production. it is impossible to record the singers live unless you use one take at a time - done perfectly. you could have multiple cameras cutting away - like a live award show broadcast. but you couldn't away to (for instance) Mr. Schu's reaction shot unless Matthew Morrison was really in that room and at that time with the perfect expression. the songs have to be recorded to provide for continuity across multiple takes and for continuity in the edit process.

December 21 2009 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dj's comment
Eugene

what the hell does dubbing have to do with autotune? No one is complaining about them having to lip synch over a studio track.

December 21 2009 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eugene

I enjoy the show and the music but the comparison is really kind of a joke... Babs did it without autotune.

December 21 2009 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to Eugene's comment
Dani

I was on the edge of my seat when I watched that performance, too! It was the perfect song for the character.

December 21 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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