Work Is Theatre

Barbra Streisand had not yet gotten her act together as an aspiring actress and singer when she tried out for Harold Rowe’s musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale. In his book Audition, casting director Michael Shurtleff relates how he thought the then-unknown actress was ideal for the role of Miss Marmelstein.1 He was concerned, however, that Streisand’s prominent nose would not get past producer David Merrick, who had told him, “I don’t want any ugly girls in my show.” Despite the admonition, or perhaps because of it, Shurtleff scheduled Streisand for the last audition slot.

Streisand, draped in a gaudy raccoon coat and wearing mismatched shoes, walked in late, chewing gum. (She had found the “fabulous” shoes at a thrift shop ...

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