New York Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood will collaborate with Tony Award winner Barbara Cook on the latter's currently untitled memoir, which will be published by HarperCollins in fall 2012.
The world rights deal was negotiated by Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president and publisher, Harper, and Rakesh Satyal, senior editor, Harper; Cook’s manager, Jeff Berger at Jeff Berger Management; and Isherwood’s agent, David Kuhn at Kuhn Projects.
In the book, Cook, according to press notes, will discuss “her almost seventy years spent in the theater, beginning with her early iconic roles such as Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide
, Amalia Balash in Jerry Bock’s She Loves Me
, and her career-defining and Tony-winning role as the original Marian Paroo in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man
. She will also discuss her struggles with depression and alcoholism in the 1970s, after which she recovered and started a concert career as one of the greatest and most acclaimed interpreters of the American songbook, with the songs of Stephen Sondheim, in particular, being her forte. Indeed, in 2010, at the age of 82, she was Tony-nominated as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her work in Sondheim on Sondheim
In a statement publisher Burnham said, “Harper is thrilled and honored to have signed up a book by Barbara Cook, one of the greatest singers of our age. Her amazing career spans the glory days of Broadway and the American musical, and she has worked with many of the key composers, musicians, actors, and performers of her generation. Behind the triumphant professional life lies a striking personal story that demands to be told, and her memoir promises to be a truly remarkable one.”
Editor Satyal added, “Simply put, no other living performer has the perspective on the evolution and interpretation of the American musical theater that Barbara Cook has. Her consummate artistry and unfailing work ethic are an inspiration to countless performers and composers, and her grace, quick wit, and inspired approach to music will make for a wonderful reading experience.”
Barbara Cook stated, “For a very long time, I’ve wanted to write about my life and experiences both on stage and off. And now, thanks to HarperCollins, I finally get my wish. And the added bonus is that I have as a collaborator one of the most knowledgeable and insightful theater writers I know, Charles Isherwood. I feel very fortunate to have been a performer during the golden age of Broadway and am looking forward to sharing stories from that time in my memoir.”