I was out of town for Streisand's return to Brooklyn but happily I was home for Barbara Cook's 85th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall.
I fell in love with the music from Candide long before I knew that a very young Barbara Cook had originated the role of Cunegonde on the stage. All I knew was that Glitter and Be Gay was the music on The Dick Cavett Show and I wanted to hear the rest of the score. ("Wow, Leonard Bernstein. He did West Side Story.") Hey, I was young.
I wore out albums, cassettes and cds before I had a chance to see Candide, first on Broadway, in 1997 with Jim Dale, Harolyn Blackwell and Andrea Martin (hysterical as the Old Woman who was "so easily assimilated!") and then again in London.
It would be more years before I got to hear Glitter and Be Gay performed by the original Cunegonde. My husband is a big fan so we've seen her a few times. When he asked if I wanted to see her again I thought - again? Really? Inwardly, I thought I was making a big sacrifice but to paraphrase another Broadway lyric, this is what I did for love.
I'm so glad I went!
First off, we should all be as funny, energetic and ready to try something new at 85 as Barbara Cook is. This was not her typical show filled with theatre music - nary a Sondheim tune, sorry to say. It was swing, and jazzy with some totally unexpected songs. House of the Rising Sun? Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks?
After a terrific set which included some standards that I bet the other Barbra also sang, the birthday celebration began with special appearances by opera singer Susan Graham, guitarist John Pizzarelli, Sheldon Harnick and Josh Groban. I left Carnegie Hall feeling like I had just seen a living legend. I was lucky enough to see Judy Garland a number of times (my mom was a fan) and Pavarotti, but it made me sorry that I had never seen Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney or Elvis Presley live.
Which living legends have you seen or want to see ?