…Especially during “Piece of Sky,” in which Babs sings about how she wants more than she’s got and what’s wrong with that, although, in the context of a film which she has directed, produced, cowritten, starred in, and in which she sings all the songs, you wonder what more she wanted: to be the scenery? Mandy Patinkin plays Avigdor, the man she falls in love with and who in real life has a Tony Award and over ten albums of mainly Bro adway songs to his name, which may account for why he spends so much of the film frowning. (Likewise in Funny Girl, Omar Sharif had a single solo which – “ahem, may I make a little suggestion?” – Streisand thought might work better as a duet.) Amy Irving gets to hum a tune at one point, but Babs talks over it.
“Do you think when Patinkin signed up he thought he was going to get to sing?” asks Adi every time we watch it.
“I think the word ‘musical’ probably raised his hopes, yes.”
We felt so sorry for Patinkin that as a gesture of support we went to see his performance in the kids’ film, Elmo in Grouchland. (p. 167)