Before she was Barbra, she was Barbara, a homely Brooklyn kid who had an unshakable belief that she would be a star. What she didn’t think was that fame would come through her singing voice. Streisand wanted to be an actress; she saw Shakespeare in her future, not Fanny Brice. Mann takes readers from the day Streisand took the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan and ends with her as the toast of Broadway. He seems to have gotten closer than most to some friends and coworkers of the early Streisand—first love Barry Dennen, first husband Elliott Gould, manager Marty Erlichman—and he’s lucky that she left a paper trail of interviews. Mann seems to have combed through every one, looked at the old videos, and has even gone as far as to check Noël Coward’s schedule for 1960 to prove he could not have seen Streisand sing at Bon Soir. Though some of this is well-trod ground, Streisand fans will come away feeling they’ve had a ringside seat at her early career, and they will leave the show applauding. --Ilene Cooper
"Trying to figure out the Barbra Streisand mystique is no easy task, but Mann expertly captures the launch of her remarkable career in the early 1960s when a unique 'star was born.' Mann's meticulous research and insightful analysis go deeper than any previous biography..."
"Mann, who has written bios of Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, has found another great subject here, and he offers up many new tidbits about Streisand's early life: details of her first affair, with a bisexual actor; her rejecting moth's reaction to seeing her onstage for the first time; and some ruminations about those 3-inch nails." — People Magazine
"[An] excellent new work...One can only put down HELLO, GORGEOUS with renewed appreciation for Barbra’s single-mindedness, and with some glimpse of her inner struggle."
—Liz Smith, syndicated columnist
"Notable for its breadth of detail and fair-mindedness . . . Mann vividly evokes the atmosphere of Streisand's New York." — New York Times Book Review
"Mann depicts not just her ferocious ambition and equally fierce insecurities, but also the people and strategies that enabled her rise. With many of those acolytes and assistants as sources, Mann provides an intimate, gossipy and sympathetic accounts of early Streisand." — The Forward
"In his masterful book, Mann captures one of the most fully realized pictures of the multi-hyphenate superstar to date. . . . Many books have been written about Streisand but few, if any, put readers as close to the subject as Mann does." — The Miami Herald
"[A] surprisingly suspenseful and masterfully paced biography."
"Streisand fans will come away feeling they’ve had a ringside seat at her early career, and they will leave the show applauding."
"A compelling, detailed look at the rise of the multitalented Streisand from 17-year-old unknown to chart-topping singer and Broadway star. Highly recommended for fans of Streisand, biographies, and theater."
"Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman."