Tony Award nominee Luker is known for her heroic soprano performances in the most recent Broadway revivals of Show Boat, The Sound of Music and The Music Man. The disc is expected to be released in January 2004.
"Rebecca's music director and producer, Christopher McGovern, wrote us a few months ago and described the project, and we were immediately interested," PS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin told Playbill On-Line. "We said, 'Burn us a copy when there's something you'd like us to hear,' and when he did, just over a month ago, we loved what we heard. It takes its cue from the folk songs and pop songs that Rebecca grew up listening to in the '70s — Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian — and then it moves in all kinds of wonderful directions from there. For so many of us in our late 30's and 40's, those songs have deep personal connections and memories for us, and you could hear Rebecca's own deep feelings about those songs in her performances."
Luker and McGovern are still fine-tuning the recording and there one new track may be added to the disc. The track list is still be finalized. For more information, visit PS Classics at www.psclassics.com.
In January 2003, Playbill On-Line reported about the disc in-progress. Composer and musical director Christopher McGovern said that although the CD will include theatre music, the goal was to show off another side of the soprano actress. McGovern explained: "The new CD with Becca has a folk/pop repertoire which really focuses on contemporary storytellers: Joni Mitchell ('Chelsea Morning'), Carly Simon ('Boys in the Trees'), Janis Ian, a Beatles cover, too ('She's Leaving Home') — even a Stephen Foster song, a gem called 'Old Dog Tray.' [There's] lots of guitar featured in the tracks... Her voice is as beautiful as ever; it has been tons of fun exploring that great instrument with these songs."
And what about show tunes?
"There's still plenty for the musical theatre crowd," McGovern said. "I did a female duet arrangement of 'Wick' from Secret Garden that Alison Fraser will guest vocal on; also 'Cherish the Child,' which was cut from Lizzie Borden [which McGovern wrote], and a gorgeous new unrecorded Amanda McBroom song called 'Ophelia,' from her new musical, Will's Women. Becca is truly an extraordinary singing actor and she's really bringing something wonderful to this material," McGovern said. "I hope people will hear her on this and have a great time experiencing those beautiful pipes in a new way."
McGovern and Luker met in 1997 doing a workshop of The Doctor's Wife, a musical version of "Madame Bovary."
Singing pop isn't such a stretch for Luker. Just because she's known for classic musical theatre roles doesn't mean she doesn't listen to pop songs on the radio. In a summer 2000 interview with Playbill On-Line, the actress said, "I am so not a musical theatre person. I never put on a musical [record at home]. I love it, but I do it so much I don't want to listen to it when I go home. I love rock music, and jazz. I love the '70s stuff that I grew up with. I grew up listening to Karla Bonoff. I like mostly that '70s rock. I love Carlos Santana, too."
She later admitted that every once in a while she puts on The Secret Garden, a show she loved being in on Broadway, and Sweeney Todd, one of her first professional regional gigs.
In summer 2002, Luker played Clara for the Kennedy Center staging of Passion, for the Sondheim Celebration.