By Lynn Sweet
Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON — “Some of you cringe when I talk about politics,��? said Barbra Streisand, offering a little patter — scripted, it turns out — between songs and some shtick with a George Bush impersonator.
Cringe? Not this adoring crowd.
Not Madeleine Albright, sitting front row center. The former secretary of state has been a Streisand pal since 1993, when the world’s top-selling female artist turned up at an Albright speech. Albright looked like she was having a grand time.
Streisand puts on glasses to play the piano. Her feet must hurt because she kicks off her high heels and walks barefoot on the three-sided stage. She talks about eating, dropping the names of Washington restaurants. She says she is feeling a little verklempt.
But the glamorous Streisand doesn’t look it. And her voice is brilliant, from hits from “Funny Girl��? to “Happy Days Are Here Again.’’ Streisand reminds her doting audience the song was the anthem of the Democrats in 1932.
It’s Friday night, and it turns out there are many people who need . . . Streisand, live, in the Verizon Center. The place is packed.
Streisand is on her first concert tour in 12 years and hits Chicago’s United Center in November. I bought my $235 ticket in June for the concert where the top face values were $750 and tons more on the resale market.
Streisand said she’s back on the road to help raise money for “causes I believe in.’’ She’s political — Democratic, liberal, close to the Clintons. She keeps track of her win/lose ratio of candidates she has endorsed, and she is way ahead. Republicans love to make an issue of Democrats who get checks from her, but that almost always backfires. Most candidates she supports win.
My friend and I got lucky — our “cheap��? seats were moved because the section we were to have been in became a curtained backdrop for the stage. From our much improved perch, I could see Streisand works from a sea of TelePrompTers.
After she sings “The Way We Were’’ from her 1973 flick with Robert Redford, she tells us why — back in 1967 at a concert in Central Park in New York, she forgot the words to three songs.
Near the end of the show, Streisand brings out Bush impersonator Steve Bridges and asks the fake 43rd president ``ever since you were selected'' his thoughts on on global warming, stem cell research and a few other items.
A few days ago, at her show in New York, a heckler shouted through the skit, and Streisand told the person to “shut the - - - - up.��? No incidents Friday. “I’m a uniter, not a divider,’’ said Streisand, setting up the joke. “I can’t divide.’’
Not in Washington.