The legendary Barbara Cook returns to London's West End with her musical director and arranger Wally Harper and Steve McManus on bass. For this special one week long season she is expected to reprise her show Barbara Cook's Broadway which was seen earlier this year at London's Gielgud Theatre. For two decades, from 1951 to 1971, Barbara Cook was a leading star of several Broadway musicals, creating roles in such classics as The Music Man and She Loves Me. In Barbara Cook's Broadway, the legendary performer shares her favorite songs and reminisce about this magical period in the history of musical theatre.
Barbara Cook's Broadway was due to run at the Gielgud Theatre from 11 to 29 May 2004, unfortunately when Cook travelled to London she was suffering from acute inflammation of the windpipe which meant that the first few performances were cancelled. The September 2004 Haymarket Theatre run was part of the 'Singular Sensations Season' which also features concerts by Michael Feinstein, Michael Ball and Joshua Rifkin and Ida Falella.
"After she finally made her entrance on the Gielgud stage, the lady herself was candid enough to admit that her voice was still lacking in power. But not in subtlety. Even if the huskiness forced her to rein in the soprano flourishes, her instinct for cutting to the heart of a lyric remained undiminished. This was a triumphant evening, part recital, part reminiscence... The 76-year-old from Atlanta is still in a class of her own. No other singer that I can think of marries precision with such easy informality... Even though she had no problem hitting the high Cs in that long-ago era, Cook is an even more interesting and nuanced singer today. Time brings its own compensations." The Times
"'Be kind,' she begs, confessing that she's not yet '100 per cent'. But though the famous voice may be a little raggedy after illness, it can still soar like few others... The great strength of her show is that it takes all but the cognoscenti a little way off the beaten track... Accompanied by her long-time musical director Wally Harper at the piano and Steve McManus on bass, Cook glides through an emotionally varied repertoire. Its share of hits ('It's Not Where You Start' and 'Till There Was You') ensures that the whooping quotient stays high. It's at its best, however, when it dallies in 'neglected' territory such as 'It's a Perfect Relationship' from Bells are Ringing (not seen here in London since a revival in the 1980s)." The Independent
"There is nothing crossover about Barbara Cook... Her singing exemplifies classical virtues. Now, at 76, no singer more perfectly weds naturalness of diction to vivid realisation of a musical phrase. Cook also has the selflessness of the truly classical artist. A song is something she lays out before you and shares with you. Every note she sings has presence. Primarily, this is a programme about the rich spread of songs and shows that have come Cook's way, from Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern through to Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim. Incidentally, this anthology of other people's art also becomes an intimate experience for the listener: rich with feeling, ardent in communication." The Financial Times
Barbara Cook's Broadway in London at the Gielgud Theatre opened 20 May 2004, Closed 29 May 2004, returned to London at the Haymarket Theatre from 7 to 11 September 2004.