Rebecca Luker Will Be Marian the Librarian in Bway Music Man

News   Rebecca Luker Will Be Marian the Librarian in Bway Music Man The much-rumored casting of Rebecca Luker as Marian the Librarian in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Music Man was confirmed by a spokesperson Jan. 4.
Rebecca Luker, not quite looking the part of Marian the Librarian.
Rebecca Luker, not quite looking the part of Marian the Librarian.

The much-rumored casting of Rebecca Luker as Marian the Librarian in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Music Man was confirmed by a spokesperson Jan. 4.

The actress who has sung choice roles in recent revivals of Show Boat and The Sound of Music will trill one of the most-coveted soprano roles in American musical history.

In the Meredith Willson musical about a slick salesman in an Iowa town, Luker will sing of "My White Knight," who appears in the guise of Prof. Harold Hill, to be played by Craig Bierko, best known for the films "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "The Thirteenth Floor." He will be featured in the upcoming movie, "The Suburbans."

Luker, a Birmingham, AL, native, was Magnolia in Livent's Show Boat, Maria in director Susan Schulman's The Sound of Music, Lily in The Secret Garden, and sang Fiona in Brigadoon on a John McGlinn-conducted EMI/Angel studio-cast recording.

Her other choice numbers in the Tony Award-winning score are "Till There Was You," "Goodnight, My Someone" and "Will I Ever Tell You?" The character requires an actress to be both prudent and fiery, and sticks in the memory for its original performance by Barbara Cook (her vocals are preserved on CD) and its film performance by Shirley Jones.

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The sound of "76 Trombones" will blare on Broadway April 3, when director-choreographer Susan Stroman's revival of The Music Man begins performances at the Neil Simon Theatre. Official opening is expected for late April, in time for Tony Award consideration (cut off date is around May 1). Ruth Williamson, currently playing the heavy-lidded Biblical epic actress in Broadway's Epic Proportions, will decry the reading of "dirty books" as the Mayor's Wife, Eulalie McKechnie Shinn, and Paul Benedict (the respected director and actor, who appeared on TV's "The Jeffersons") will play the bumbling, provincial mayor of River City.

Designers are Thomas Lynch (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting) and Jonathan Deans (sound). David Chase is musical director.

The revival of the Tony Award-winning 1957 tuner, by librettist composer-lyricist Willson, is produced by Dodger Endemol Productions.

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Set in Iowa circa 1912, The Music Man is one of the rare American musicals whose story is not lifted from pre-existing material, making it a true original, although it does draw on memories, characters and attitudes of Willson's midwestern boyhood. Willson's memoirs include "And There I Stood With My Piccolo." Willson was a rare triple threat with The Music Man, writing book, music and lyrics. The show's "story" is credited to Willson and Franklin Lacey.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960), which became a film with Debbie Reynolds; and the flop, Here's Love (1963), based on "Miracle on 34th Street." His Christopher Columbus musical, 1491, closed out of town in San Francisco in 1969. He died in 1984.

The Music Man, is rich with Americana (barbershop quartets and Sousa-like parade marches) and now-standard songs such as "76 Trombones," "Ya Got Trouble," "Till There Was You" and "My White Knight" (which is thought to have been written by Frank Loesser, who promoted and supported the project for years prior to its Broadway debut; the film dropped "My White Knight" and used Willson's similar-sounding "Being in Love").

It won the Best Musical Tony Award over West Side Story in 1958. Co-stars Cook and Preston both won Tonys.

The 1980 Michael Kidd-staged revival starring Dick Van Dyke had no staying power at City Center in New York City. It featured Christian Slater as Winthrop and Meg Bussert as Marian.