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Barbara Cook Celebrates 85th Birthday with Meyerhoff Performance, 11/3

Kennedy Center Honoree Barbara Cook takes to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall stage with a performance showcasing her silvery soprano voice on Saturday, November 3 at 8pm. In her first performance ever at the Meyerhoff, Ms. Cook will celebrate her 85th birthday through inspiring performances from jazz, swing and pop songs. Note: The BSO does not perform on this program. Please see below for complete program details.

Barbara Cook’s silvery soprano, purity of tone and warm presence has delighted audiences around the world for more than 50 years. 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 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 November 2007 Miss Cook celebrated her 80th birthday in concert with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. Due to popular demand, two encore performances of the critically-acclaimed concert played to sold-out houses. In January 2006 Miss Cook 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.

In 2004 Miss Cook’s concert, Barbara Cook’s Broadway, was hailed by both the Associated Press and USA TODAY as one of the ten best theatre productions of the year. Following the spring 2004 Lincoln Center Theater run, Miss Cook premiered Barbara Cook’s Broadway in London’s West End in May, returned to perform the show for two sold-out encore engagements at Lincoln Center that summer, before returning to London with the show for a second time in September.

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 the 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. Ms. Cook went on to create the role of Cunegonde in the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. This was followed by her creations of Marian the Librarian in the premiere production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, a performance which earned her the Tony Award, Amalia in the Bock-Harnick-Masteroff musical She Loves Me. In addition to starring roles in The Gay Life and The Grass Harp, Ms. Cook played Mrs. Anna in the legendary City Center revival of The King and I and appeared in a second production of Carousel at City Center, this time playing the role of Julie Jordan. Some time later she played Magnolia in the New York State Theatre’s production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s fabled Showboat. Ms. Cook originated the role of Patsy in Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders, and in 1972 she again returned to the dramatic stage in the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center’s production of Gorky’s Enemies.

Miss Cook was one of the only American performers chosen to perform at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival in the fabled Sydney Opera House. Musical America selected her as their 2007 Vocalist of the Year, the first pop singer to be so honored by this classical performing arts organization.

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