Legendary Barbara Cook Has Passed Away at 89
BroadwayWorld has confirmed that Barbara Cook has passed away at 89. This is an enormous loss for Broadway, the golden age of television and the music world. According to her son, Adam LeGrant, the cause was respiratory failure and we're told that she died at home, in the wee-hours of the morning of August 8, 2017 surrounded by family and friends.
Last year, Barbara Cook's anticipated autobiography, Barbara Cook: THEN AND NOW, was released by HarperCollins Publishers. Cook's companion off-Broadway production of the same name -- originally slated to run at New World Stages -- was postponed due to the "undue pressure and stress" of going straight from writing the memoir to rehearsals and this year the star's son announced her retirement.
Barbara Cook's silvery soprano, purity of tone, and warm presence have delighted audiences around the world for more than 50 years. Considered "Broadway's favorite ingenue" 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 or in the intimate setting of New York's famed Café Carlyle, Barbara Cook's popularity continues to thrive - as evidenced by a succession of seven triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall (most recently her celebratory 85th Birthday concert) where she made her 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. The recipient of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honor, in 2010 Miss Cook 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.
Ms. Cook's New York appearances also include an appearance with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, a reprise of her three sold out 80th Birthday concerts in 2007, and a critically acclaimed show Here's To Life at Feinstein's at the Regency. In the past several years Ms. Cook also made an historic solo concert debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, where she became the first female solo pop singer to be presented in concert by the MET. Miss Cook won a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her concert Barbara Cook's Broadway and was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her previous concert, Mostly Sondheim. Her many Broadway credits include the creation of three classic roles in the American musical theater: "Cunegonde" in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, "Marian the Librarian" in Meredith Willson's The Music Man (Tony Award) and "Amalia" in Bock and Harnick's She Loves Me (Drama Desk Award). In 1975 she made her Carnegie Hall debut which was preserved as the live recording, Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall. She then embarked on a second career as a concert and recording artist performing in most of the country's major concert halls and cabarets. In 1987 she won a Drama Desk Award for her Broadway show, A Concert for the Theatre.
Her many London appearances include: her Gala 1997 Birthday Concert with the Royal Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall; appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican; engagements at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, and Sadler's Wells; and Olivier Award-nominated appearances at the Albery Theatre, at the Lyric Theatre with Mostly Sondheim, two engagements of Barbara Cook's Broadway, and recently an appearance with The English National Ballet in an all-Gershwin evening at the Royal Albert Hall.
A Grammy Award winner, her recordings include eight original Broadway cast albums, two Ben Bagley albums of songs by Jerome Kern and George Gershwin, an album entitled Songs of Perfect Propriety, featuring poems by Dorothy Parker set to music by Seymour Barab, As of Today (Columbia) and The Disney Album (MCA). Her more recent recordings for DRG Records include: Close as Pages in a Book, Barbara Cook: Live From London, Oscar Winners: The Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein, All I Ask Of You, The Champion Season: A Salute to Gower Champion, Mostly Sondheim,Barbara Cook's Broadway, the Grammy nominated Count Your Blessings, Tribute, The Live Performance CD, Barbara Cook at the Met, No One Is Alone and Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder. DRG Records released a boxed set of her recordings entitled The Essential Barbara Cook.