Beloved Broadway and Cabaret legend Barbara Cook died Tuesday August 8 at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.
Recipient of a Kennedy Center honor in 2011, the legendary Soprano from Atlanta emerged onto the Broadway scene in 1957 with her radiant portrayal of Marian the Librarian in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, for which she won a Tony. Her originating performances in Candide (1956), She Loves Me (1963) cemented her reputation, as did her performances in revivals of Carousel (1957), The King and I (1960) and Show Boat (1966).
But a host of personal problems, including a difficult divorce, depression, obesity and alcoholism, which interrupted her career in the late 1960s. But starting in 1975 she began collaborating with pianist/composer Wally Harper in a partnership that would last 30-years. In the late 80s she made her comeback in nightclubs, cabarets and concert halls, including a notable 1985 appearance with the New York Philharmonic in a concert version of Sondheim’s Follies. Along the way, she sang for every US President from Carter to Clinton and won a Drama Desk Award in 1987 for her solo show “A Concert For Theatre.”
On Wednesday, August 9, at 7.45 PM, Broadway will darken its marquees for one minute in honor of this Broadway icon.
Photos Above: JK Clarke (2015 Encompass Opera Theatre Gala honoring Ms. Cook – National Arts Club)