UPDATE to EXCLUSIVE with confirmation: Barbara Cook Then And Now, a show that unites the acclaimed Broadway star with two equally legendary Broadway creatives — author-director James Lapine and director-choreographer Tommy Tune — will not open this spring as planned, I’ve learned. The show, which was to have begun performances April 12 at the Shubert Organization-owned New World Stages, has been postponed to allow the 88-year-old singer whose iconic roles include Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, the librarian Marian Paroo in The Music Man and the vanilla ice-cream loving Amalia Balash in She Loves Me — more time to prepare.
A spokesman for the show, Chris Boneau, confirmed the postponement, adding that Cook says she looks forward to singing in the future. No new dates were given for the show.
“It’s very sensitive material,” says Lapine, who conceived the show and has been working with Cook. The show began rehearsals last week. “It can be a knockout show because her life is such a jaw-dropper, but she needed more time.”
Then and Now was to have coincided with the publication by HarperCollins of Cook’s memoir, also called Barbara Cook Then And Now, which has been promoted as a revealing and highly personal account of a life that spanned Broadway’s Golden Age. “The show is unusual,” Lapine said. “It’s not a cabaret show, it’s its own animal and I think we’ve just been needing time to figure out about putting it together. It’s revealing itself as we go along, and we don’t want to be rushed.”
In 2010 Lapine conceived and directed Sondheim On Sondheim, in which Cook played a key role. In 2004, she performed a limited-run concert, Barbara Cook’s Broadway!, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. A revival of She Loves Me, starring Laura Benanti in the role created by Cook for the Sheldon Harnick-Jerry Bock-Joe Masteroff musical, recently opened at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 to critics’ raves.
Barbara Cook Then and Now is being produced Roy Furman, in association with Sandy Robertson and Luigi Caiola.