We interrupt this website to return to a few days earlier. You may recall that we had a wee bit of a video festival on the 2000 Broadway revival of The Music Man. This isn't that. But when talking about a revival it of necessity harkens back to the original.
While there isn't much (if any) TV footage of the original Harold Hill from that 1957 production, Robert Preston, there's at least a full movie, which he starred in, re-creating his Broadway role. But alas, the original Marian the Librarian has largely been left to the wind. Clearly Barbara Cook has had a long and successful and honored career -- including being a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor. But she wasn't in the film version of the show that brought her to fame. (To be clear, The Music Man in 1957 was not her Broadway debut. She'd starred in several shows before then, including such notable shows as Plain and Fancy and Candide. But The Music Man was such a massive hit that America took into its heart that the show raised the profile of most of its main cast.) And though she's sung many of her songs from The Music Man throughout her career, there's almost no footage of her in the role.
Happily, there's an "almost" in that last sentence. And to be fair, this isn't actually her playing Marian on stage or exactly re-creating the role. But it's close and therefore a treasure. This is Barbara Cook from that time on The Bell Telephone Hour performing a period version of her iconic song, "Till There Was You."
(I believe that when you click on the video below, you'll have to click again to take you directly to YouTube.)
Oh, and if anyone had any uncertainty as to why Barbara Cook was raised to fame along with Robert Preston for starring in The Music Man...this is why --
Okay, and here's a bonus.
Thirty years after creating the role of Marian the Librarian, here is Barbara Cook once again on a Broadway stage, singing that same song, "Till There Was You," at the 1987 Tony Awards.
And it is just as glorious.
One of the many reasons why she received the Kennedy Center Honor. (Because, no, she didn't spend her career singing this one song.... But it's so wonderful seeing her do this so well, I just couldn't not offer the two as companions.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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