Playbill.com has learned that the tribute to the original Music Man star featured performances from Tony winner Patti LuPone, Tony winner Audra McDonald, Tony winner Glenn Close, Tony nominee Rebecca Luker, Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara, Tony winner Sutton Foster and Bonnie & Clyde's Laura Osnes. Husband-and-wife actors Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker also spoke about stage veteran Cook.
In her introduction of Cook, Parker said, "When one thinks of New York City, many iconic images spring to mind: The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. Barbara Cook at the Café Carlyle belongs on that short list of beloved New York treasures." Broderick continued, "Early on in our courtship, I took Sarah to see Ms. Cook at the Carlyle. You see I knew her a little bit, since I was a kid. She worked with my father, she was friendly with my parents, so I was able to parlay that association into a dressing room visit after the show."
"I was transported that evening. Having grown up endlessly playing my mother's recording of Barbara at Carnegie Hall, finally and at last seeing her perform live was for me one of those rare treats of a lifetime. And then to meet her backstage...well, of course, Matthew didn't know at the time what a special memory he was creating for us," added Parker.
Broderick continued, "Whether you are watching her on the Broadway stage, in a concert hall, an intimate nightclub or listening to one of her recordings at home, the thrill of Barbara Cook's voice, the scope of her talent, never ceases to amaze." "And she is as beautiful and generous off stage as she is on, as I discovered after meeting her at the Café Carlyle those many years ago. Thank you Barbara, for all of the music, the joy and longing and sadness and humor with which you infuse each song. You are unique and wondrous; yours is an extraordinary life and you put every bit of it into your music," concluded Parker.
Recipients honored at the 34th annual national celebration of the arts also included singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins and Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep.
The Honors Gala was recorded for broadcast on the CBS Network for the 34th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Dec. 27 at 9 PM ET.
Barbara Cook, a 2010 Tony nominee for her performance in Sondheim on Sondheim, has starred on Broadway in Flahooley, Candide, The Gay Life, The Music Man and She Loves Me. She received a Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony Award for her performance in The Music Man, and her one-woman show, Mostly Sondheim, was nominated for a Tony in the Best Special Theatrical Event category. Cook was also seen on the New York stage in Barbara Cook's Broadway. Both Mostly Sondheim and Barbara Cook's Broadway were recorded for DRG. Cook made her solo debut at the Metropolitan Opera, which was also released on DRG Records.
For more information, visit www.kennedy-center.org.