Barbara Cook’s Broadway should have opened at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue May 12. However, the stage stayed dark as Cook succumbed to doctor’s orders. Now, we’re told, her first night will be on Monday, May 17. The production continues a spate of solo shows from American showbiz divas of a certain generation. The last couple of years have seen solo turns from Elaine Stritch, Cook herself and, most recently, Bea Arthur.
Cook’s last London visit was with her Mostly Sondheim show (which ran next door to the Gielgud, at the Lyric). Barbara Cook’s Broadway will run until May 29 at the Gielgud.
With Cook will be musical director Wally Harper, providing accompaniments for the singer’s anecdotal meandering through Broadway’s past. Musical numbers include "This Nearly Was Mine," "It’s Not Where You Start," "His Face," "A Perfect Relationship" and many others. The show, as with Mostly Sondheim, will be produced in London by Bill Kenwright.
Cook has one of the most admired voices and vocal techniques in musical theatre. Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, her career stretches from a debut in 1951 in the musical Flahooley, through historic hits in the original casts of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man and Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s She Loves Me.