Rebecca Luker, a Broadway Star for Three many decades, Dies at 59

Rebecca Luker, a Broadway Star for Three many decades, Dies at 59

This model Broadway profession, powered by her crystal-clear operatic soprano, helped bring this model Tony prize nominations for “Show cruiser,” “The musical Man” and “Mary Poppins.”

Rebecca Luker, the celebrity and singer just who in an acclaimed three-decade career on the New York phase embodied the essence of Broadway music ingenue in hit revivals of “Show Boat,” “The appear of Music” and “The musical person,” passed away on Wednesday in a hospital in Manhattan. She is 59.

The demise ended up being verified by Sarah Fargo, this lady agent. Ms. Luker revealed in March that this dish have amyotrophic horizontal sclerosis, often called A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig’s condition.

Ms. Luker’s Broadway profession, supported by the girl crystal-clear operatic soprano, helped bring the girl three Tony honor nominations. The first had been for “Show Boat” (1994), during she starred Magnolia, the captain’s dewy-fresh adolescent child, whose every day life is destroyed by relationships to a riverboat bettor. The 2nd got for “The sounds Man” (2000), through which she would be Marian, the prim lake urban area librarian exactly who enchants a traveling flimflam person exactly who considers — erroneously — that he’s merely driving through location.

In between, Ms. Luker delighted experts by enjoying against input a 1997 Encores! production of “The Young Men From Syracuse.” As Adriana, the overlooked girlfriend exactly who receives the girl channel back (along with her husband’s long-lost twin-brother), she used slinky 1930s attire and exuded exactly what Ben Brantley, in the review for the newest York periods, called “a disarmingly confectionary sexiness.”

Taking part in Adriana got enjoyable, Ms. Luker said. “For earlier during daily life, I got to does somewhat,” she informed the occasions in 1998. “Learning to show to your crowd, learning to maintain for laughs — we ate upward with a spoon.”

But towards the end of that spring, she am great into ingenue place again, taking part in Maria, the undisciplined inexperienced nun switched live-in governess of seven, in “The sounds of Music.”

When This Chick gained the third Tony nomination, this method for the very best included actor in a music, it had been for enjoying Winifred Creditors, a married Englishwoman with two offspring and a skilled nanny, in “Mary Poppins” (2006).

For a lot of her victory in musicals, Ms. Luker couldn’t discover as a show-tunes type. “really extremely perhaps not a musical theatre individual,” she informed Playbill in 2003. “I really enjoy rock musical and jazz. I enjoy the ’70s belongings We knew growing up.”

Rebecca Joan Luker came into this world on April 17, 1961, in Birmingham, Ala., and lived in Helena, modest community close. She would be undoubtedly four kiddies of Norse Doak Luker Jr., a construction staff, and Martha (Baggett) Luker, a nearby higher school’s treasurer. Rebecca sang inside her ceremony choir (principal Baptist of Alabaster) and had been a part belonging to the Thompson High march band.

In high-school, she added a luxury pageant. Performing “Much most,” the ballad of girlish ambitions and willpower from

“The Fantasticks,” she claimed a college or university scholarship as primary runner-up to Alabama’s Junior lose.

That obtained the lady on the college of Montevallo, just 14 long distances from the folks’ household, just where she was actually a music significant and was given the girl degree in 1984. Graduation ended up being a year afterwards than designed because she took a rest to work alongside Michigan Opera show, exactly where she satisfied the woman upcoming ny rep. Merely 5 years after institution, she had been regarding Broadway step, assuming the lead female part in “The Phantom on the Opera”— Christine, the chorus lady who’s going to be the thing with the phantom’s affections.

“Phantom” had been the Broadway introduction; she began like the understudy towards unique celebrity, Sarah Brightman; grew to be another; and got more as Christine in 1989. She stayed aided by the tv show until 1991.

Ms. Luker shifted right away to another one Broadway show: She played a ghost, the little orphan girl’s dead cousin Lily, in “The trick backyard.” Within his analysis within the era, Frank Affluent singled-out “I listened to anybody Crying,” Ms. Luker’s haunting trio with Mandy Patinkin and Daisy Egan, for specific praise.

In a large amount of this model further Broadway duties, Ms. Luker exchanged the original celebrity in a long-running success. She accepted more than as Claudia, the director-protagonist’s movie-star muse, in “Nine” (2003); Marie, the moody fairy godmother, in “Cinderella” (2013); and Helen, the discouraged partner and mother whom misses are an actress — as Mrs. Banking institutions got in “Mary Poppins” — in “Fun Home” (2016).

She progressed earlier softly in many the subsequent off-Broadway parts. Two decades after featuring in a 1996 resurgence of “Brigadoon” as Fiona, a Scottish lass very rare she does indeed come-along only once 100 years, she played a droll Buffalo matron in A.R. Gurney’s comical performance “Indian Blood” (2006). In 2011, she got an Italian duchess grieving the woman son’s demise inside the music “Death produces a vacation,” by Maury Yeston, Thomas Meehan and Peter material.

Ms. Luker also received a thriving cabaret profession, appearing at romantic places like Cafe Carlyle and Feinstein’s/54 Following next, but she professed an unique passion for “the live knowledge in top of an orchestra.”

The period was often the lady basic homes, but she have finally render the test operating debut within her belated 30s when this gal starred in “Cupid and Cate” (2000), a Hallmark hallway of popularity television motion picture by which she played the heroine’s perfect and properly sensible relative. Between 2010 and 2020, she had invitees functions on series such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “N.C.I.S. Brand new Orleans” and appeared in three ability videos, like “Not Fade Away” (2012), a drama about a teenage rock group.

The lady last phase character is as a small-town minister’s narrow-minded wife in a 2019 Kennedy middle creation of “Footloose.” She played at a concert in honor of the lyricist Sheldon Harnick in March 2020.

Them latest efficiency was at Summer, via Zoom, in a prerecorded advantages performance, “At Home With Rebecca Luker.”

“as soon as shout,” she explained the changing times immediately before that show, “I reckon it heals myself. It assists me feel I’m however connected with one thing.”

Ms. Luker attached Gregory Jbara, a star, in 1993; these people divorced in 1996. In 2000 she hitched the star Danny Burstein, whom she met the moment they starred collectively in “Time and Again” in hillcrest.

Mr. Burstein survives the woman, as would two stepsons, Zachary and Alexander Burstein; a sister, Roger; a cousin, Suzanne Luker; the girl mummy, Martha Hales; along with her stepfather, Lamar Hales. Another twin, Stephen, expired just the past year.

Lookin right back on her profession in a 2016 theatre individuals podcast, Ms. Luker indicated thanks your jobs she’d received but admitted that this chick most likely must have busted from the leading-lady shape — studied behaving longer and far more really, starred in more plays, complete further drama.

“I wish I had branched out a little bit more,” she stated cheerily. “Maybe played a bitch or something.”