Carnegie Hall Celebrates Barbara Cook's 85th Birthday, 10/18
Miss Cook gained early fame in musicals like The Music Man and Candide, and, over the course of her career, she has played on the biggest stages all across the globe. The illustrious soprano made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1975 and, most recently, performed in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with renowned singer/songwriter James Taylor kicking off his Perspectives series with a gala concert celebrating Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary in April 2011. For Barbara Cook’s 85th Birthday Concert at Carnegie Hall, Lee Musiker and Ted Rosenthal serve as musical directors and surprise special guests will be announced from the stage on the evening of the performance.
Considered “Broadway’s favorite ingénue” during the heyday of the Broadway musical, Miss Cook then launched a second career as a concert and recording artist soaring from one professional peak to another. Whether on the stages of major international venues throughout the world or in the intimate setting of New York’s Café Carlyle or Feinstein’s at the Regency, Barbara Cook’s popularity continues to thrive—as evidenced by her 1997 birthday concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall in London, a succession of six triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall, where she made a legendary solo concert debut in 1975, and an ever-growing mantle of honors including the Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk, and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, her citation as a Living New York Landmark, and her induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
A 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree, Miss Cook recently returned to the Broadway stage after a 23-year absence and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the musical Sondheim on Sondheim, directed by James Lapine for the Roundabout Theater Company. In January 2006, she made her solo concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera Company, making her the first female pop singer to be presented by the Met in the company’s 123 year history; the concert was recorded and released by DRG Records. In 2004, Miss Cook’s concert, Barbara Cook’s Broadway, was hailed as one of the ten best theatre productions of the year.
Barbara Cook’s Broadway followed close on the heels of her earlier triumph, the critically acclaimed Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim. Miss Cook premiered this program at Carnegie Hall in February 2001 before taking it to London’s West End where it was the smash hit of London’s 2001 summer season, eventually garnering two Olivier Award nominations for Best Entertainment and Best Actress in a Musical. Miss Cook went on to perform Mostly Sondheim at Lincoln Center Theater for a sold-out fourteen week run, winning a Tony Award nomination for Best Theatrical Event, and has performed the show in major cities throughout the United States.
A native of Atlanta, Barbara Cook made her Broadway debut in 1951 as the ingénue lead in the musical Flahooley. She subsequently played Ado Annie in the City Center revival of Oklahoma!, followed by a national tour of that hit show. In 1954, her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel led to the role of Hilda Miller in the original production of Plain and Fancy. Miss Cook went on to create the role of Cunégonde in the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.