In 2018, three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker, who passed away in December 2020 from ALS, took the stage at Symphony Space to perform 18 songs written especially for her as part of a project known as The Rebecca Luker Songbook. On May 22, a host of Broadway artists gathered at that Manhattan venue to perform other works from this project in an evening titled The Rebecca Luker Songbook: A Benefit Concert.
Produced by Joel Fram and Annette Jolles, who also directed, the concert featured the talents of Julie Benko (Funny Girl), Mikaela Bennett (Encores! Golden Apple), Andréa Burns (On Your Feet!), Carolee Carmello (Bad Cinderella), Nikki Renée Daniels (Company), Laura Darrell (Dietland), Ali Ewoldt (Phantom of the Opera), Marina Kondo (KPOP), Emilie Kouatchou (Phantom of the Opera), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Scarlet Strallen (Travesties), Jessica Vosk (Wicked), and Sally Wilfert (Assassins).
Check out two photos from the evening (above and below):
The evening premiered songs by composers Carmel Dean (Renascence), Scott Eyerly (Creatures Great and Small), Jenny Giering (The Mistress Cycle), Mike Heitzman and Ilene Reid (Solana), Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls), Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family), David Loud (musical supervision for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess), Joshua Rosenblum (Fermat’s Last Tango), Sam Willmott (Bhangin' It), and more. Joseph Thalken is the musical director.
Attendees were treated to 24 songs from The Rebecca Luker Songbook, a collection of over 80 compositions inspired by and written especially for Luker.
“Rebecca Luker was a great friend of Symphony Space, a true champion of new work, and a deeply special person,” said Jolles and Fram in an earlier joint statement. “We’re so thrilled to honor her with this concert of world-premiere songs, all of which were written especially for her. We could think of no better way to celebrate Rebecca’s life and legacy than by showcasing these composers and partnering with Project ALS.”
Rebecca Luker was Tony-nominated for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Music Man, and Show Boat. She was married to Tony-winning actor Danny Burstein.