Rebecca Luker Trades Marian, Maria and Magnolia for Folk and Pop on New CD

News   Rebecca Luker Trades Marian, Maria and Magnolia for Folk and Pop on New CD Broadway's Rebecca Luker will shed her elegant soprano image from The Music Man, The Sound of Music and Show Boat and sing folk and pop on a new album of songs.

The disc, currently being recorded by composer and musical director Christopher McGovern, will also include theatre music, but producer McGovern said the goal was to show off another side of the Tony Award-nominated actress whose voice soared to heroic heights when she sang "My White Knight" in the most recent Broadway revival of The Music Man.

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.' Lots of guitar featured in the tracks, 12 of which have been recorded. There will likely be 14 in all — though that is still not finalized. 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."

McGovern hopes to find a distributor and have the disc out by spring. "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.

To view the July Brief Encounter interview with Luker, who was appearing in The Music Man at the time, click here.