Streisand makes it official

The highly anticipated tour by Barbra Streisand became a ticket-buying reality Tuesday when representatives for the singer announced on-sale dates and venue information for 16 shows.

Local telephone lines are expected to burn when tickets for the much-ballyhooed event go on sale Sunday at 9 a.m. through Ticketmaster. A limit of six ducats per caller will be honored. Although ticket prices were not announced, sources said prices for the Los Angeles gigs will be staggered at $ 50, $ 125 and $ 350.

Streisand will begin her tour at London’s Wembley Arena on April 20, with a four-concert run at the venue, before returning to the United States for 12 shows in five cities.

The North American leg will kick off with two nights in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Air Arena on May 10 and 12, moving to the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detriot for a two-night stand May 15 and 17.

Streisand will then return to Los Angeles for three nights at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim on May 25, 27 and 29, before heading up the coast for two gigs at the San Jose Arena June 7 and9. The tour will conclude with three nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 20, 23 and 26.

The choice of a Sunday on-sale day, rather than a weekday, was selected in an effort to avoid telephone outages or service interruptions to local business expected as a result of the large volume of calls.

When Streisand’s New Year’s weekend shows in Las Vegas were announced, the switchboard at the MGM Grand Hotel was besieged with calls, overloading its system.

Ticketmaster chief Fred Rosen said he had to make an agreement with the telephone companies to offer the tickets on a weekend.

Speculation of a tour was fueled when Streisand admitted she enjoyed the experience of the two Vegas shows and would consider doing other concert performances. The MGM perfs were her first concert performances — excluding a handful of charity showings — since 1971.

After the Vegas gig, Streisand’s manager, Marty Ehrlichman, in tandem with agents at Creative Artists Agency, began contacting promoters who have hungered for a Streisand outing for years.

The singer said a limited tour was her way of returning the support she has received over the years.

“I honestly believed it was going to be just two concerts,” Streisand said in a statement referring to the Vegas shows. “But it was such a lovely experience, feeling the connection with the audience after all these years, that I decided to do a limited tour to express my appreciation for the love and support I have received for such a long time.”

Promoters had hoped for a larger run that would be more likely to satisfy audience demand, but the 16-gig run was selected by the singer so as not to conflict with the preparation of a film project, “The Normal Heart,” which she will direct.

Conservative estimates put the singer’s take for the shows at just north of $ 20 million. Some of the funds will also be earmarked for charitable contributions.

Each of the North American dates will tie into a charity selected by Streisand, with details of the arrangements to be forthcoming. A diverse list of charities benefited to tune of $ 3.5 million from the singer’s Vegas shows, and an additional $ 3 million is expected to flow to the groups from the Wembley stops.

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