Barbara Cook, the cabaret artist with a legendary Broadway pedigree, is heard on a new disc, "The Champion Season," a Sept. 21 DRG release recorded live at the Cafe Carlyle.
The recording is a tribute to the late director-choreographer Gower Champion, who staged Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!, Carnival, I Do! I Do!, The Happy Time, the revival of Irene, a West Coast staging of Annie Get Your Gun with Debbie Reynolds, 42nd Street and more.
The 12-track CD includes 15 songs from shows Champion was associated with. Champion's death coincided with the Broadway opening night of 42nd Street (1980).
Wally Harper, Cook's musical director, arranges, conducts and plays piano. Richard Sarpola is on bass. Hugh Fordin produces.
Tony Award-winner Cook is the blonde soprano who originated the Broadway roles of Cunegonde, Marian the Librarian and Amalia in Candide, the Music Man and She Loves Me, respectively. On Sept. 21 at noon, she will appear at the Broadhurst Theatre to perform at the unveiling of U.S. postage stamps honoring Broadway songwriters, including Meredith Willson (The Music Man).
The album was recorded live at New York City's Cafe Carlyle April 30, 1999. It includes:
• "We Love You, Gower" (after "We Love You, Conrad," from Bye Bye Birdie)
• "Before the Parade Passes By" (Hello, Dolly!)
• "It Only Takes a Moment" (Hello, Dolly!)
• "I Got the Sun in the Morning" (Annie Get Your Gun)
• "The Happy Time" & "Among My Yesterdays" (The Happy Time)
• "The World Must Be Bigger Than an Avenue" (by Harper, for Irene)
• "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (after Chopin)
• "About a Quarter to Nine" (42nd Street)
• "His (Her) Face" (Carnival)
• "Look What Happened to Mabel" (Mack and Mabel)
• "They Say It's Wonderful" (Annie Get Your Gun)
• "I Got Lost in His Arms" (Annie Get Your Gun)
• "Time Heals Everything" (Mack and Mabel)
• "Before the Parade Passes By" (reprise)
• "They Were You" (cited as Champion's favorite song, from The Fantasticks)
Sept. 21 is also the release date for DRG's Encores! concert-cast recording of the 1960 Comden-Green-Styne musical, Do Re Mi.
-- By Kenneth Jones