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Liza Pulman: Interview

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
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Fascinating Aida star talks about her career and Streisand
As the daughter of a well-known actress and a leading screenwriter there was really one way for Liza Pulman's career to go. And, having hopefully done her parents proud with her own glittering musical career, Liza is currently adding another string to her bow in a new one-woman show dedicated to the talents of the great Barbra Streisand. The show, simply titled Liza Pulman Sings Streisand, will now be heading to the Lichfield Garrick theatre on Sunday 8 July as part of the annual Lichfield Festival. Weekend Notes caught up with Liza during her current UK solo tour. So how did Liza first get into singing? She said: "I always sang as a kid. My mum and my sister and I would sing close-harmony on long car journeys and my sister and I sang together for years as "The Pulman Sisters", singing music from the 20's, 30's and 40's.

Liza Pulman
Liza Pulman pays tribute to Barbra Streisand in one-woman show

"We started out just singing at our parent's parties but ended up singing in the foyers of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. We were good. We made a great sound, like only siblings can. Then I went to The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where I studied singing for six long years, before joining Glyndebourne where I spent several years as a junior principle. It was a pretty amazing start." Showbiz was clearly in the blood with her mother being the actress Barbara Young, whose TV credits include Coronation Street and Last of the Summer Wine, and her father, Jack Pulman being the screen-writer responsible for such massive hits as I Claudius and War & Peace. Added Liza: "I was surrounded by writers, actors, directors from a very early age, in fact, I don't really remember anything else." Following her early career singing at Glyndebourne, Liza also appeared in the West End before starring for 13 years as one-third of comedy music trio Fascinating Aida.

Liza Pulman, Liza Pulman Sings Streisand
Liza Sings Streisand taking to the road


So, is it daunting to perform on her own in Liza Pulman Sings Streisand, albeit she is joined on stage by musical director Joseph Atkins and her six-piece band? "Actually I love it," she adds. "I miss the Fascinating Aida girls of course - there's a wonderful safety net with the three of us on stage together. But in my Streisand show I am backed by six amazing musicians and we are a proper family. One of the great joys of the show is the relationship I have with these fantastic players and the audience loves to see that. I've always adored doing solo work and have grown to love it more and more as I've grown older. A couple of years ago, one of my Fascinating Aida colleagues needed some time off to recover from an illness, and this break seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop my own show." Liza first took to the road in a show called Songs of Hollywood. "One of the songs I sang in that was Evergreen from the film A Star Is Born, and so many people told me I sounded like Barbra Streisand that I started to look at how and why that might be. I realised that she has been such a huge influence on my singing and on my approach to music that I wanted to celebrate that somehow. For me, it's a chance to celebrate this extraordinary woman by singing just a handful of some of the songs that she's made famous."

Liza Pulman, Liza Pulman Sings Streisand
One third of Fascinating Aida in new solo show


Incredibly, Liza's career - and life - could have been cut drastically short by the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 that claimed so many lives. She recalls: "It was a life-changing experience that's for sure. I was on the Piccadilly line train in which 26 people lost their lives. It's hard to fathom how you can have been so close to death and yet walk away relatively unharmed." Liza Pulman Sings Streisand is at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre on Sunday 8 July at 7.30pm as part of the Lichfield Festival. Tickets priced 20 and 17 can be obtained by either visiting www.lichfieldfestival.org or by calling the Box Office on 01543 412121.
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Why? Hear Liza Pulman Sing The Songs Of Barbra Streisand
When: Sunday 8 July
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Tickets cost £20 and £17
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