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DECEMBER 17, 21, & 23

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, there were only three Broadway sopranos that anyone cared about: Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, and Barbara Cook. Unless you happen to have a couple of thousand dollars and a ticket to Vegas for Babs’ New Year’s Eve bash, Cook is the only one you can still hear in concert. The original Marian the Librarian in Music Man, the diva who laughed herself into oblivion in Candide, the She Loves Me girl who sang “Ice Cream” (and later ate waaaaaay too much), Cook is still in glorious voice. The years have mellowed her middle range, turning meltingly sweet tones downright liquid. Her comic timing—always sharp—has acquired a double edge that’s useful in scabrous songs by Sondheim. And her seductive way with a romantic lyric has only improved over the years. Yes, there’s a touch of shrillness in her upper register of late. And yes, she has a fondness for show-bizzy cabaret tricks. Still, when she relaxes into the numbers she sang as an ingenue, delivering them with the simple gestures and inflections she remembers from their original contexts, she’s pretty damn superb. Performances at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. $33. (202) 467-4600. (Bob Mondello)