Singer and Broadway actress Barbara Cook was one of the honorees at the 34th Kennedy Center Honors, held at the White House in Washington D.C., on December 4, 2011. The event was filmed and will be televised on CBS on December 27, 2011. In addition to Barbara Cook, this year’s honorees include: Sonny Rollins, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma and Meryl Streep.
34th Kennedy Center Honors to air on CBS
The tribute to Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer and Broadway actress Barbara Cook was led by Multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband, Tony Award-winning stage and film actor Matthew Broderick. The couple talked about Cook’s contributions to the world of musical theater.
Sarah Jessica 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.”
Matthew 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,” exclaimed 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.
The duo then introduced a musical medley of memorable Broadway songs Cook had performed during her lengthy career, beginning with “This is All Very New to Me,” performed by Laura Osnes, a young Broadway actress. This led into “Glitter & Be Gay,” with Anna Christy, a soprano opera singer, performing. Then, multiple Tony Award nominees Kelli O’Hara and Rebecca Luker together sang, “Will I Ever Tell You” and “Will He Like Me.” Golden Globe, Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Glenn Close took the stage next with “Losing My Mind,” followed by Tony Award-winning actress and dancer Sutton Foster with “Everybody Says Don’t.” Tony Award-winning singer and actress Patti LuPone then sang a medley of “Loving You” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Next, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald sang “Till There Was You.” In conclusion, all of the women returned to the stage to perform “Make Our Garden Grow,” accompanied by the Choral Arts Society.
President Barack Obama remarks at 34th Kennedy Center Honors