Entertainment » Music

Barbara Cook brings new show to Feinsteins

by Bob Johnson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Apr 8, 2009

Barbara Cook will be performing her new show, "Here's To Life," at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, from April 14 to May 2. In her show she will perform selections from the worlds of theater, swing, pop and jazz. Songs include "What A Wonderful World," "Written In The Stars," "I Want To Be Happy" and numbers from her newest CD, Rainbow Round My Shoulder.

Ms. Cook recently took a moment to chat with EDGE about her new show and some highlights from her legendary career.

EDGE: You sang at the White House for Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Which was the most exciting and why?

Cook: The most extraordinary was with Reagan when they had a private dinner for the king and queen of Sweden...It was a small party of 35-36 people.

Secretary of Stage George Schultz was downstairs at the cocktail hour. I was speaking to him and he said, "They never do this. It's in their private quarters."

It was an extraordinary.

Another time was with Clinton. I was there for their very first big party after the inauguration with all the governors and their wives. It was the first time that Democrats had been in power for quite a while and I thought that the White House was going to levitate!

The last time I was at the White House was for Clinton. They have this card system at the dining room. When I saw that I was at the president's table, I asked the head usher, "How does this happen?"

He replied, "The only way you sit at the president's table is if the president asks you to do so."

EDGE: In the 1950s you appeared on much television, mostly variety shows. But one of the more unusual ones was when you appeared on the dramatic anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in a episode entitled "A Little Sleep" with actor Vic Morrow. What was it like working for Alfred Hitchcock?

Cook: Y' know... You never did see Alfred... Paul Henry, the actor, directed the segment that I was in. He saw me in "Plain and Fancy" and, when the script came up, he cast me and directed the episode.

EDGE: In 1967 you appeared in a production of "Funny Girl." What was it like playing the role of Fanny Brice?

Cook: Lordy, lord. It's a wonderful show. It truly is so beautifully put together. I did a summer stock production with George Hamilton. He was wonderful ... one of the funniest guys that I've ever known.

I'm certainly not Jewish. I did the Irish/English version. It's a great show and I loved doing it.

EDGE: Early in your career you played Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!." What was that like?

Cook: That was hard for me. A man named Jerry White directed it. I was in the 12th year of the national company.

I was getting nowhere with this role-or so I thought. I had decided that I was getting nowhere with these songs. My husband and I found my way of doing it.

After seeing what we had done, Jerry white came back stage and said "You'll never work again." He was very unpleasant.

I did enjoy the people that I worked with. Florence Henderson was in the show and we shared the same dressing room. My husband was in the company, too.

EDGE: You performed at London's Albert Hall for one of your birthday concerts. What was that experience like?

Cook: Albert Hall is huge. It's a circle. There's a feeling of intimacy even though it's so huge.

I attended an event five days before I performed there and, while I was sitting in the audience, I got scared to death. I thought, "How am I going to do that?" When I got on stage, though, I felt okay. When you are on stage, it doesn't feel so huge.

EDGE: What is your favorite song to perform?

Cook: I don't have a favorite. I have several that I love. The one that I have sung the most is "He Was Too Good To Me"

I fall in love with new songs. I've recently have fallen in love with an Arlen song that I'm about to do, "It was Written in the Stars."

Will you be performing it at the Regency?
Cook: Of course.

EDGE: What can you tell us about the show at the Regency? Are there any surprises?

Cook: I hope there will be surprises. For one thing, I have deliberately chosen more songs that people are familiar with... I found a couple of unusual songs but I'm not going to tell what they are. You'll have to come to the show to find out.

Barbara Cook at Feinstein's At Loews Regency (April 14 - May 2) will play the following schedule: Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 PM. The weekend schedule presents shows on Friday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM and 10:30 PM. Please note: there is no show on Thursday, April 16 and an extra show on Sunday, April 19 at 8:30 PM. All shows have a $75.00 cover with $95.00 premium seats, both with a $40.00 food and beverage minimum. Jackets are suggested but not required. Feinstein's At Loews Regency is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. For ticket reservations and club information, please call (212) 339-4095 or visit us online at feinsteinsatloewsregency.com and TicketWeb.com.


BittenByAZebra.Com - aka Bob Johnson - is a New York-based writer, photographer and video artist.


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