|Barbara Cook & me - Opening Night of Deuce
On Broadway, Barbara was the original Cunegonde of Candide, the original Marian the Librarian of The Music Man, the original Amalia of She Loves Me, after making her Broadway debut in the 1951 Flahooley. She won her Tony award in 1958 for The Music Man. Her high soprano voice was crystal clear and stratosperic - she sang 21 high C's in Glitter and Be Gay as Cunegonde.
Barbara is still singing - last year she returned to Broadway to star in the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim, for which she garnered yet another Tony nomination. She has recorded over 40 solo and cast albums, many of which are treasured listening on my playlists.
But what Barbara is best as is making you feel like you're the only one in the room as she sings you a story. While her voice is not longer the high clarion, it is now a warm and luscious sound that wraps around you like a blanket. I felt this way seeing her from the balcony of Carnegie Hall and even in her sold out concert at the Metropolitan Opera, where she was the first female "pop" singer to sing in a solo concert at the 4,400 seat house. She also continues to teach master classes - one of her famous students is Hugh Jackman.
Seeing her at the Met is one of my best memories - Noah and I dressed up to the nines and sat right down front in that packed house. It was a thrill to see her sing there especially knowing that she is a huge fan of the Met Opera, ever since she was a little girl and would listen to the Met Opera radio broadcasts. I've also seen and visited with Barbara when we were both patrons at dress rehearsals or visiting one of the divas backstage. It's fun to know we have similar tastes.
The performance celebrating the Kennedy Center Honorees - also including Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and Meryl Streep - was filmed on December 4th and will finally air tomorrow night, December 27th, on CBS at 9:00 pm (Eastern). It promises to be a great telecast this year!