PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Death Takes a Holiday Star Rebecca Luker

Cue and A   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Death Takes a Holiday Star Rebecca Luker
Three-time Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker, currently appearing in Roundabout's staging of the new musical Death Takes a Holiday, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Rebecca Luker
Rebecca Luker

Luker has appeared on Broadway as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Lily in The Secret Garden, Claudia in Nine, Maria in The Sound of Music, Magnolia in Show Boat, Marian in The Music Man and Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins. She earned Tony nominations for the latter three performances.

Screen credits include "Cupid & Cate," "Law & Order: SVU," "My Favorite Broadway" and "Evening at Pops." She is married to actor Danny Burstein.

Full given name: Rebecca Joan Luker
Where you were born/where you were raised: Birmingham, Alabama
Zodiac Sign: Aries
What your parents did/do for a living: My mom was the secretary at my high school. Fun, huh? My dad owned a construction company and also designed houses.
Current audition song/monologue: I don't have an audition song or monologue. I just find something when needed.
Special skills: I can twirl a rifle, walk on a beach ball, play the piccolo and chop kindling. That's just a sample.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Being kind about Right Wing nut jobs who want to take food and medicine away from poor people in order to pay for tax cuts for rich people who fund their campaigns.
First Broadway show you ever saw: My One And Only
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Sweeney Todd. Missed it by about 8 years.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Follies (soon to open at the Marquis)
Some favorite showtune(s) of all time: "All the Things You Are"
"Ballad of Sweeney Todd"
Favorite "golden age" Broadway composers: Jerome Kern, Jerome Kern and Jerome Kern
Favorite contemporary Broadway composers: Maury Yeston, Stephen Sondheim, Joseph Thalken, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChuisa, Jenny Geiring, Zina Goldrich and Marci Heisler, to name only a few.
Three favorite musicals: Music Man
Sweeney Todd (what else?)
She Loves Me
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most love to have performed with: Robert Preston, James Cagney, Mae West, Bert Lahr, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart... we're gonna be here all day!
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: The entire cast of Death Takes a Holiday
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: The dance of death in Grand Hotel. I was glued to my seat and was so moved by that performance.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Any ballad written by Joseph Thalken
Most played song on your iPod: That's a hard one... lately I love Sarah Bareilles.
Most-visited websites: Anything news-like: Huffington Post, Politico, Real Clear Politics, MSNBC, Crooks and Liars, you get the drift.


Oh and food sites, too.

Last book you read: Anthony Bourdain's "Medium Raw"
Must-see TV shows: HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"
"Next Food Network Star"
Reruns of "Frasier" and "Golden Girls" grin
Last good movie you saw: "A Single Man" with Colin Firth
Some films you consider classics: "Accidental Tourist"
"Terms of Endearment"
"Bonnie and Clyde"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Danny Burstein
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Watching any of the Hoarding shows. It's more sad, of course, than pleasurable.
Three favorite cities: New York (what else?), San Francisco, London
Favorite sport/team/player: Baseball, NY Yankees, A-Rod
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Nancy Sinatra singing "These Boots are Made for Walkin'"
First stage kiss: A college production of 1776 playing Martha Jefferson. So weird!
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: How about the ONLY role as a teenager? That would be the doctor in Go Ask Alice. The drama teacher wouldn't let me play one of the drugged-out teens; said nobody would believe it. Hilarious.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I gave teaching a shot and hated it. Well.... and when I first performed in a musical at college. That pretty much hooked me.
How you got your Equity card: Playing the role of Jane in the Goodspeed Opera production of Leave It to Jane in the summer of 1985.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal:

Pre-show: Something light and not spicy. Piece of fish or chicken, a salad. Post-show: Varies greatly! Steak or moule frites on occasion. Calamari, escargot (all the bad stuff).

Favorite liquid refreshment: Red wine
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:

Short vocal warm-up. If time and room, I like to stretch and do some ab-work and push-ups, that sort of thing. No rituals really. I burned some sage a friend gave me once but my room and the hallway smelled so bad after that, I never did it again.

Most vocally challenging role you have ever played: Lily in The Secret Garden because of all the high notes I had to float. But this is also one of my most cherished roles.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:

No big flubs or missed cues, but so many onstage mishaps!! My favorite was during Phantom when, after yanking the Phantom's mask off his face as he sat at the organ, I slipped on that awful oily fog and slid on my ass all the way upstage, where my leg and gown were caught underneath a big iron gate.

Cris Groenendaal, who was playing the Phantom, had to rip me free so we could continue our onstage chase. My shin had been gouged and was shooting blood.

Later I found out that the audience thought it was staged. And I didn't need stitches. Just a butterfly bandage. Good times.

Worst costume ever: I've only had to wear glorious, gorgeous creations. OK... maybe there was one, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings so I'm keeping it to myself.
Worst job you ever had: Serving drinks at Callaway Gardens resort while also doing cabaret while drunk men came up on stage with you to try to grab the mic. Fun!
A show you would love to star in opposite your husband: On the Twentieth Century
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: The one I'm doing now in Death Takes a Holiday
Leading man role you wish you could play: Sweeney Todd (I bet you could've guessed that one)
Something about you that surprises people: I'm funny and have a dirty mind
Something you are incredibly proud of: Co-organizing a "Broadway for Choice" march on Washington in 1990
Something you're embarrassed to admit: Right, I'm gonna tell YOU so thousands of people I don't know can read all about it.
Career you would want if not a performer: Family therapist
Three things you can't live without: My husband Danny and sons, Alex and Zach
"I'll never understand why..." ... the media pays attention to people like Sarah Palin.
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers? Perform anywhere and everywhere you can. And if you still want to be in this business, go for it. But in the words of Abe Lincoln, "Whatever you are, be a good one."
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