(click song title above to listen)
Barbara Cook, the legendary Soprano from Atlanta, a Broadway icon and recipient of a Kennedy Center honor in 2011, has passed away this past week at her home in NYC at age 89. Cook emerged onto the Broadway scene in 1957′s The Music Man for which she earned a Tony and originated performances in Candide, She Loves Me, Carousel, The King and I, and Show Boat.
After a battle with depression and alcoholism in the late 1960s, Cook would make a comeback in the mid-1970s in nightclubs, cabarets and concert halls that would last for the rest of her life. Cook sang for every US President from Carter to Clinton and won a Drama Desk Award for her solo 1987 show, A Concert For Theatre.
This week’s tune was recorded live at a 2004 Lincoln Center concert compiling some of Barbara’s favorite musical-theater tunes. “It’s Not Where You Start (It’s Where You Finish)” comes from the 1973 hit musical Seesaw with a score by Cy Coleman & Dorothy Fields.
When teaching master classes at the Julliard School in recent years, it’s been said that Cook often waved off her students’ preoccupation with vocal perfection, pushing them instead to get at the pain and joy beneath the notes. We had the pleasure of seeing the master at work one night performing at the Cafe Carlyle in 2008. Cook’s ability to transform a room and leave you hanging on every word is something we’ll never forget. Simply one of the most moving performances we’ve ever seen. Goodbye Barbara, thank you for your artistry!
(Eartha Kitt, Cy Coleman, Barbara Cook)
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