MARIAN PAROO FROM “Music Man” died today and with her Ado Annie from “Oklahoma,” Cunegonde from “Candide,” Julie Jordan from “Carousel” and the fabulous Sally Durant Plummer from Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.”

Those were just a few of the characters the great Barbara Cook brought to life on Broadway in her long, stumbling, troubled and ultimately successful career.

On August 9, the brilliantly lighted marquees of all the theaters in the great city of Manhattan dimmed for one full minute. It’s a tribute no Broadway star, director, writer or choreographer looks forward to, but it’s right up there with the Tony as a cherished tribute.

The truly inimitable Barbara Cook, Broadway and cabaret songstress, slipped away from us in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Manhattan. That, I can tell you, is a magic couple of hours and the hardest time to leave.

It’s when dancers and actors stumble home from parties after exciting openings, when showgirls and chorus boys are just getting to bed.

Winter or summer, it’s the mystical time of morning, when only the tops of the great towers catch the first kiss of the rising sun, when doormen at the hotels sweep the mats, fruit stand owners hose down the sidewalks, and workers throw the morning Times from the back of their trucks.

Barbara knew those dawns, she knew them from remembering the great opening night after-parties when she was the toast of Broadway and danced until light broke over the city. She knew them on those mornings when, too drunk to stand, she would fall into a cab and was delivered to her bed by friends, especially her great love, pianist and arranger Wally Harper, who was with her for 30 years until his death in 2004.

The obits printed everywhere Tuesday were full of the moments, days, months and years of her career. They wrote about her alcoholism, depressions and struggles with obesity. I read them until I could read no more.

Some of what I write here is snipped from them, but a lot of what I know about Barbara came from my friendships with dancers and actors who worked with her and told great stories of their friend and idol.

I was in Manhattan one bitter winter, trying to stay warm in a one-room apartment over the Polish Seaman’s Relief Bar on Columbus and 74th, when I first heard Barbara. She had opened that year in the original production of “The Music Man” with Robert Preston, where the two of them sang “Goodnight, My Someone,” and the rest truly is history.

I saw her once with friends, bustling along West 47th Street in Manhattan. She was immediately recognizable, a large woman with shoulder length blonde hair, smiling and chatting and dancing in and out of the passing crowds at mach speed.

But the most memorable moment happened one Christmas in the city, when I with my wife and daughter, who was a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College in nearby Bronxville, were out on the town.

Loaded with food and wine from Elaine’s on Second Avenue and East 88th, we stumbled out of the snow into Michael’s Pub at 211 E. 55th Street to hear Barbara sing.

Each night she performed, the small club was jammed with, among others, her loving crowd of young gay men who adored her.

We were lucky to be given a small table only 20 feet from her. Wearing a flowing, sequined black dress, a simple strand of pearls and a clutch of holly, she took the stage holding a small mic, said a few words and got a couple of laughs.

Then, after a few break-in notes from Wally Harper’s piano, she opened with her now famous “Goodnight, My Someone” from “Music Man” and ended with Wally Harper’s own “Better With a Band.”

Sitting nearby at a table with friends were two of her famous fans, movie stars Farley Granger and Van Johnson wearing his famous red socks. You don’t collect better memories than that, not even at Christmas. We knew how to live in those halcyon days.

I understand that most of you reading my tribute this morning don’t remember Barbara, and some are too young to even know who she was.

That’s sad, but I and that ghostly band of brothers and sisters who inhabited Elaine’s, now gone, the Carnegie Tavern, now gone, Michael’s Pub, now gone, and held hands and shared kisses while listening to Ms. Cook sing Meredith Wilson’s “Goodnight, My Someone” — we remember.

I will drink more wine tonight. I will cry a bit and raise my glass with a toast.

Goodnight Barbara, wherever you are. See you on the other side.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.