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[Beginning of left page] [[Image: vintage microphone with orange wire]] making yourself heard on broadway By Robert Simonson [[image: headshot of Rebecca Luker]] REBECCA LUKER Career Highlights 1991 – The Secret Garden 1994 – Show Boat 1997 – the Boys from Syracuse 1998 – the Sound of Music. 2000 – the Music Man [beginning of first column] There is an ongoing question among theatre types as to whether Rebecca Luker plays her character or is her character. Not to be slighting – she is, obviously, an actress and a good one at that – but to anyone who's met her, she seems as nice, as cornfed and as blonde (figuratively, that is) as the world's she embodies. Those parts include Magnolia in Show Boat, Maria in the Sound of Music and currently, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man: some of the nicest, most likable people in musical theatre fiction. Luker has suffered a bit for being Broadway's Girl Next Door. But those who falter her for the overriding sweetness of her career are overlooking a few important points. First of all, the parts mentioned above aren't cakewalks. Maria was originated by Mary Martin, and Marian was first played by Barbara Cook. That Luker should be selected to follow in their footsteps is an indication of directors and producers' estimation of her talents. Furthermore, there's the vocal challenge of both roles. Maria basically carries The Sound of Music, singing-wise. The Music Man's score is distributed more evenly among the cast; still, it is perhaps as Marian that Luker's vocal prowess has [end of first column] [beginning of second column] most impressed. The voice, suite in clear, it is at its best in the Wilson musical, absolutely clarion In "My White Knight." Hers is simply the best and most pleasing voice now on the New York stage. It is Marian's songs that gives her – and by extension Luker – the unfair reputation as a good girl. "My White Knight," "Goodnight, My Someone," "Till There Was You." – they're all pure, uncut romance. Marian, however, is a lot more complicated than that. It's often overlooked that until Harold Hill came to town, she was the most radical, most liberal denizen of chilly River City; and independent woman in turn-of-the-century America and a social rebel, as far as that goes in Iowa. If you saw Luker play "against type" in The Boys from Syracuse, you know why she can add extra dimension to parts like Marian and Maria (the was a fallen nun, for God's sake). And, fine, if you must argue it – what if a good part of Marian or Maria or Magnolia is just basically nice? Any casting director knows that it takes more talent, not less, to make a wholesome leading lady compelling. For all we know, Luker is, whatever the show, probably giving the best performance on stage. [end the second column] 50 www.playbill.com PURE THEATER ONLINE. [End of left page] [beginning of right page] member of oneworld [[Image: blue rectangle with white text]] ONLY AMERICAN GIVES YOU MORE ROOM THROUGHOUT COACH. At American, were removing rows of seats from every one of our planes, to give you more room throughout the Coach cabin. That's over 700 aircraft offering more room. Row, after row, after row. In fact, almost all of our domestic fleet will be complete in October. We'll soon have more room for more coach passengers than any other airline. So made plans to fly with us. But plenty of room. www.aa.com/moreroom American Airlines [end of right page]
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