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Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara, and More to Perform in Tribute to Barbara Cook

James Lapine will direct the event in honor of the late Tony and Grammy Award winner.

Audra McDonald will be among the performers at an upcoming tribute concert to the late Barbara Cook.
(© David Gordon)

Renée Fleming, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Jessica Molaskey, Kelli O'Hara, John Pizzarelli, and Vanessa Williams will perform in A Tribute to Barbara Cook, which will take place at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Monday, December 18. James Lapine will direct the tribute to the Tony and Grammy Award winner, who died on August 8 at the age of 89.

In addition, Cook's son Adam LeGrant; producer Roy Furman; lyricist Sheldon Harnick; Michael Kaiser, President Emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; actor Frank Langella; and actor Jane Summerhays will speak in tribute to the late artist.

Cook originated the role of Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, her rendition of "Glitter and Be Gay" becoming one of her signature arias, as well as the roles of Marian the Librarian in Meredith Willson's The Music Man and Amalia Balash in Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick's 1963 musical She Loves Me. Her many other stage performances in the 1960s included Anna in The King and I and Magnolia in Show Boat at City Center. She played Molly Brown and Fanny Brice in national tours of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Funny Girl, respectively. Her last role in a Broadway book musical came in 1971, when she starred as Dolly Talbo in The Glass Harp.

Cook's longtime collaboration with accompanist Wally Harper turned her into a cabaret star. She would bring numerous solo concerts to Broadway for extended stays, including Barbara Cook's Broadway! and Mostly Sondheim. Her relationship with Stephen Sondheim's music continued when she appeared in the 2010 revue Sondheim on Sondheim.