The Song Is Her: Rebecca Luker's Summer Jerome Kern Concert Will Be Recorded

By Kenneth Jones
October 18, 2012

PS Classics, the label dedicated to the heritage of Broadway and American popular song, will record a new album of Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker singing the songs of Jerome Kern, drawing from her July performances at the midtown nightclub 54 Below.



Luker, music director Joseph Thalken, bass player Dick Sarpola, and additional musicians will assemble in a New York studio on Nov. 7-8. The disc will be produced by PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker. Krasker anticipates a Jan. 22, 2013 street date.

The recording covers three decades of Kern songs, including "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," "Why Was I Born?" and "The Song is You," along with more obscure numbers "Saturday Night," "Not You," "I Got Love" and "My Husband's First Wife." In addition, Luker will be adding three Kern songs that she did not perform at 54 Below.

PS Classics is in a Kern mood lately. Luker will also be heard on PS Classics' upcoming two-disc Jerome Kern revue, The Land Where the Good Songs Go, also featuring Heidi Blickenstaff, Kate Baldwin, Philip Chaffin, Graham Rowat and Matthew Scott. That album (originally announced to be called "A Jerome Kern Evening," but now retitled) is due in stores on Nov. 27.

Of the Luker solo disc, Krasker told Playbill.com, "This whole year has been about seeing things or hearing things and going, 'This has to be recorded.' Is there a better combination than Rebecca Luker and Jerome Kern? When she soars on things like 'The Song Is You' and 'Can't Help Singing,' it's breathtaking. And what she and Joe Thalken did to the material, in terms of keeping it classy and elegant, yet making it seem deeply personal, is just astounding. Philip [Chaffin, co-founder of PS Classics] and I heard it and knew it had to be preserved. We'll be adding some additional instruments where it seems necessary or appropriate, but keeping it as intimate as it was live."

Luker, who has been Tony-nominated for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Music Man and the Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II classic Show Boat, has also been seen on Broadway in Nine, The Sound of Music, Something Wonderful, The Secret Garden and The Phantom of the Opera. In July, Luker told Playbill.com, "When I started putting this concert together, I wasn't as knowledgeable as I thought I was about Kern. I've since learned that his range over a 30-year period — from the early, early days at the Princess Theatre until when he died — is just astounding. The range of his styles and what he wrote! I think I fit in because I'm kind of a versatile singer."

Read Playbill.com's summer interview with Luker, who talked about her passion for Kern and her plans for the July 6-7 concerts

Visit psclassics.com. Learn about other theatre-related recordings for sale by visiting PlaybillStore.com

PHOTO ARCHIVE: Rebecca Luker on the Musical Stage

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Robert Morse and Rebecca Luker in Show Boat
Photo by Catherine Ashmore