Barbara Cook Dies at 89, Celebrate the Icon with Her Top 5 Best Performances

The Music Man

We are sad to report Barbara Cook passed away, according to social media posts. The stage and screen has lost an icon today.

Cook died early Tuesday of respiratory failure, surrounded by friends and family at her home in Manhattan, according to her publicist.

Barbara Cook's career spanning a sparkling 66 years came to an end with the announcement of her retirement yesterday, May 7, 2017. Some of Ms. Cook's most notable roles include; Ado Annie (Oklahoma), Cunégonde (Candide), Julie Jordan (Carousel), Marian Paroo (The Music Man), Amalia Balash (She Loves Me), Dolly Talbo (The Glass Harp), Sally Durant Plummer (Follies at Lincoln Center), and Sondheim on Sondheim. Among her many achievements Ms. Cook earned a Tony Award in 1958 for The Music Man, as well as an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2011.

Upon her announcement, we had to dive into the endless supply of show-stopping performances Ms. Cook has provided us with to enjoy over her 66 year career. We have been able to sift through the countless hours of pitch-perfect vocals and pin-point precise characterization and found these 5 to rise to the top. 

5: Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall: Time Heals Everything

In 1975, Ms. Cook, who had been singing for nearly 20 years proved once again how she had earned her place among the stars. Out of the 20 tracks available from this historic night this one ranks as one of our favorite tracks. 

4: Ice Cream (1979)

The diction, the characterization, the support! Ms. Cook slays us in this performance of Ice Cream from She Loves Me

3: Loosing My Mind (1986)

In 1985, Lincoln Center produced a concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Ms. Cook played the role of Sally who sings one of our favorite heart-breaking musical theatre ballads. Check out the master class performance below

2: The Music Man: Till There Was You

How could we have a list of favorite Barbara Cook performances without The Music Man. Here Ms. Cook performs Till There Was You on the Bell Telephone Hour. This role had previously won Ms. Cook a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

1: Candide: Glitter and Be Gay

No Barbara Cook list would be complete with her iconic origination of the role, Cunégonde in Candide. Glitter and Be Gay has been perfromed by thousands of sopranos and few can match the professinalism of this flawless performance. 

Congratulations, Barbara Cook for an incredible 66 years career!

What are your favorite performances? What did we miss? Let us know below!

Trevor ChauvinComment