Vanessa Williams and friends to honor Barbara Cook

Vanessa Williams and friends to honor Barbara Cook

The award-winning York Theatre Company will honor Tony and Grammy Award winner Barbara Cook with the 20th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre Nov. 21 at the Edison Ballroom.

The evening will boast appearances by Cheyenne Jackson (“Glee,” “30 Rock,” Finian’s Rainbow, Xanadu), Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid), Tony nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal, Ragtime, Passion), Tony nominee Emily Skinner (Billy Elliot, Side Show, The Full Monty), multiple Emmy, Tony and Grammy nominee Vanessa Williams (“Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” Sondheim on Sondheim, Into the Woods) and Tony nominee Tom Wopat (Catch Me If You Can, Sondheim on Sondheim, Annie Get Your Gun, “The Dukes of Hazzard”).

The Oscar Hammerstein Award was created by York’s founder, Janet Hayes Walker, and is named in honor of the legendary lyricist who helped shape the American musical theatre through his collaborations with a number of different composers and writers.

Past recipients include Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Harold Prince, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, David Merrick, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Terrence McNally, Cameron Mackintosh, Carol Channing, Tony Walton and Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick.

Cook, a Broadway legend who won the 1958 Tony Award (Featured Actress) for playing Marian the Librarian in the original production of The Music Man, is a Grammy winner and in 2010, she was nominated for a Featured Actress Tony Award for her appearance in “Sondheim on Sondheim.” She originated the role of Amalia in the Broadway premiere of the musical She Loves Me, and was Cunegonde in the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.

This is sure to be an amazing evening.  I know Vanessa well, I’ve been friends with Norm Lewis for over a decade, and I was lucky to have worked with Tom Wopat on “Chicago the Musical” where he was terrific and a great, great guy.  I saw Barbara, Vanessa, Norm and Tom in “Sondheim on Sondheim” and it was a thrilling evening in the theater.  If you are going to be in the NYC area on November 21st, get a ticket, contribute to a good cause and catch the cream of the Broadway crop for a great evening.