Rebecca Luker


Born: April 17, 1961
Rebecca Luker has established a highly successful career in the American musical theater as an actress and soprano. She has appeared on Evening at Pops and in non-musical roles on such popular television shows as Matlock and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Luker first came to prominence as Christine in the long-running Lloyd Webber Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera. She went on to receive three Tony nominations, one each for Show Boat (1995), The Music Man (2000), and Mary Poppins (2007). Much of Luker's success can be attributed to the beauty of her lyric soprano voice, which has a light, sweet sound that gains in robustness as it approaches forte. Luker's vocal repertory has generally focused on Broadway-style music, taking in songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, and many others. But she also sings arrangements by Paul Schwartz of numbers from many popular operas by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, and others. Luker has recorded for Angel, Varese Sarabande, Koch Records, and P.S. Classics, among others.

Rebecca Luker was born in Helena, AL, on April 17, 1961. She studied music at the University of Montevallo (Alabama) and also worked for a year for the Michigan Opera Theater (1984). In 1988 Luker was taken on as Sarah Brightman's understudy in The Phantom of the Opera. Upon Brightman's departure, she took over the role until 1991. A string of successful roles followed: from 1991-1993 Luker played Lily in The Secret Garden; she next appeared as Magnolia in Show Boat (1994-1997), then as Maria in The Sound of Music (1998-1999).

In the new century Luker's Broadway successes continued with Music Man (2000-2001), where she played Marian; Nine (2003), in which she played Claudia; and Mary Poppins, in which she plays Mrs. Banks (2006). But Luker has also taken on some non-musical theater work: in 2002-2003 she appeared in the provocative off-Broadway play The Vagina Monologues.

Luker has also mixed in a few stints in television acting: other than her Matlock and Law and Order appearances, she has had several roles in television movies, including the 2000 Hallmark production Cupid & Cate, playing Annette. In addition, she has twice appeared on Great Performances, in 1999 and 2001.

Among Luker's recordings is the 2004 Koch Records CD Aria 3, the third volume in the popular series of Paul Schwartz arrangements of favorites by Verdi, Puccini, and others.