PBS Great Performances and THIRTEEN have classic treats in store to ring in the holidays. First, on Friday, November 29, 2013: “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” a telecast of the diva's historic Brooklyn homecoming to christen the 19,000-seat, $1-billion Barclays Center, which marked her "home" concert since her childhood (and her first concert in six years). She performs 27 tunes from her five-decade career, joined by guests Il Volo, Chris Botti, a 60-piece orchestra led by William Ross, and, in quite a touching segment, her son Jason Gould.

"I love people from Brooklyn because they're real," she tells adoring fans, her nails glistening from a high-gloss polish. "They're down to earth. They tell it like it is. By the way, the last time I sang in Brooklyn was on a stoop on Pulaski Street."

Needless to say, from her entrance ovation to her exit ovation, she had the audience eating out of her hands. Songs are framed by video montages of Streisand's childhood and early career - the likes of alma mater Erasmus High School, the Loews Kings, the Dodgers, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn Heights, even her yeshiva.

Tunes include "The Way We Were" in tribute to Marvin Hamlisch; "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," which she sang in 1963 during her memorable appearance on “The Judy Garland Show”; her duet with Donna Summer, "Enough is Enough (No More Tears)"; "My Funny Valentine," "Evergreen," and "Lost Inside of You" with Chris Botti; backed by Botti, Gould, Il Volo, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, "Make Our Garden Grow" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide, which she recorded for a 1988 unreleased Broadway album; "Smile" with Il Volo: "Somewhere"; "Some Other Time"; and a rousing finale of "Happy Days Are Here Again."

You'll hear specialty lyrics to "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "You're the Top"; and different arrangements from her recordings. Among highlights is a tribute to Jule Styne with a medley of tunes from Funny Girl; and Styne and Sondheim with songs from Gypsy.

Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn has also just been released in a deluxe DVD/CD edition (Columbia Records).

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On December 27, American Masters will present the 90-minute documentary, “Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love,” about the composer and conductor who earned a Pulitzer, Tony, three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, and three Golden Globes. Interviewees include Woody Allen, Ann-Margret, Lucie Arnaz, Quincy Jones, John Lithgow, Steven Soderbergh, Streisand, Sir Tim Rice, Christopher Walken, and others. Tony-winner Dori Berinstein directs.

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Barrymore arrives January 31, 2014, in the person of stage-and-screen legend Christopher Plummer. William Luce’s 1997 Broadway play is set in 1942 during the final months of the Great Profile’s life as he struggles to recreate his performance in Richard III. Barrymore then recalls the highs and lows of his remarkable career.

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Key Subjects: 
Marvin Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand, Christopher Plummer, Barrymore
Writer: 
Ellis Nassour
Date: 
November 2013