My Mother and Me and Barbra: Bonding Over Streisand's Return to Brooklyn

By Blake Ross
12 Oct 2012

Blake (right) and her mother, Terri, at Barclays Center.

One of the most touching of these family moments came in the second act when Barbra shared a home video that her son Jason made for her birthday. Underneath the dozens of snapshots of mother and son through the years — Barbra and Elliot Gould in the hospital with a newborn Jason, Barbra as Dolly Levi twirling a young toddler in the air, Jason walking his mother down the aisle during her wedding to James Brolin, etc. — was a jazzy, drum-heavy version of "Nature Boy." It sounded a bit like George Michael singing. But no, as Barbra later revealed, "I'd like to introduce you to the filmmaker and singer, my pride and joy, Jason Emanuel Gould!"

The pair then sang a poignant version of "How Deep Is the Ocean," Barbra stealing a few moments to mouth to Jason "I love you." (At this point my mother was practically apoplectic — "Look how proud of him she is! I'm so proud of you too!" As if a moment of motherly pride couldn't pass without acknowledging that you too are proud of your progeny!)

Moments like this kept creeping into my Streisand concert experience. As I glanced over to watch my mother mouth the words to many of the songs — "Nice 'n' Easy," "Smile," "Sam You Made the Pants Too Long," "Evergreen," "People," "Being Good," "Don't Rain on My Parade," "Make Our Garden Grow," "Happy Days Are Here Again" — I realized how many of my own theatregoing "ticks" I got from my mother. The drumming of our fingertips in time with the beat, the cocked head and swaying motion during the ballads, the clenched fists that pulsate with the strings during the up-tempos. This apple clearly didn't fall far from the Jewish, loud, blonde-girl tree.

When I got off the subway on my way home, I retrieved a message from my mom: "I just want to tell you that I had the best time in the whole world being with you and I love you so much and you are the best child on the entire planet and I'm so proud of you and Barbra Streisand!"

So you see, I inherited my mother's love of music…and for run-on sentences.

(Back to Brooklyn plays a second performance on Oct. 13. Blake Ross is editor of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillBlake.)