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Streisand Plans Some 20 Shows in U.S., Canada : Pop music: After her London concerts next month, the singer is set to tour--probably including an L.A. appearance.

March 11, 1994|ROBERT HILBURN | TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC

Barbra Streisand's much anticipated concert tour will begin next month with at least two shows in London, but the rest of the tour itinerary is still being formalized, her representative Marty Erlichman said Thursday.

What appears probable is that the tour will return to North America after London for approximately 20 shows divided between five to eight U.S. and, possibly, Canadian cities--not the 12 cities previously expected. Since the shows will all be in arenas seating approximately 15,000, that means approximately 300,000 available tickets for the North American swing.

While Erlichman wants to avoid naming the remaining cities until all contract details have been finalized, sources said dates in New York, probably at Madison Square Garden, and Los Angeles, probably at either the Forum in Inglewood or the Anaheim Arena, are scheduled. Dates, however, remain tentative.

The tour will start in London because the timing coincides with plans by the Boots pharmacy chain to contribute 1 million in Streisand's name to the Variety Clubs of Great Britain. The money will be used to purchase 32 specially equipped "Sunshine" coaches for use by disabled children in England and Northern Ireland.

The format of the shows will be the same as the one in Las Vegas. Rather than a "greatest hits" run-through, the production was scripted along the autobiographical lines of a one-woman Broadway show. She employed music and stories to reflect on such matters as childhood dreams, relationships, family ties and social responsibilities. Marvin Hamlisch will again conduct a 64-piece orchestra.

The shows follow Streisand's triumphant return to live concerts after a 22-year break with highly acclaimed performances Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Hotel's 13,000-seat Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas. The dates grossed an estimated $7 million each, which is more than twice any previous pop music gross, including rock stadium dates that sometimes attract up to 90,000 fans.

Tickets for the upcoming tour, however, will be priced considerably below the Vegas shows, which averaged more than $600 per seat. Tickets for the London shows April 20 and 27 will go on sale today.

Erlichman said he felt optimistic that Streisand would agree to do additional shows after the excitement of the Las Vegas dates, but that she didn't give the official go-ahead for almost two weeks.

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"We knew it was going to be a short tour because Barbra has some films she wants to do as soon as possible, which meant we were working within a narrow time frame in putting the tour together," he said. "I think she really enjoyed the experience, but she is also committed to the films.

"If her next film ("The Normal Heart") was ready to go, my instinct was she probably would have done it right away, but that film probably won't be ready to start pre-production until some time this summer, so that was our deadline."

Though Streisand cut back so greatly on plans to tape the MGM Grand performances for a TV special that it initially appeared the special would have to be scrapped, she was "delighted" with the footage captured by the reduced number of cameras--and that footage will be the basis of a future show, Erlichman said. No arrangements for the special, however, have been made.

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