Thursday, May 5, 2011

cd review - Rebecca Luker - Leaving Home

Continuing my series of members of the Secret Garden Broadway cast who have released solo cds (see my first post about Alison Fraser here.)

Rebecca Luker has received three Tony nominations and has appeared in eight Broadway shows.  She made her Broadway debut in The Phantom of the Opera, starred in Show Boat and The Secret Garden, had the female leads in the revivals of The Sound of Music and Music Man and starred as Mrs. Banks in the original Broadway cast of Mary Poppins as well as played Claudia in the replacement cast of the revival of Nine.  She got Tony moms for Show Boat, Music Man and Mary Poppins.

Luker has a lilting soprano voice but one that has a nice amount of depth to it as well.  She also has great diction and warmth to her voice.   She has released three solo CDs.  Her first release was a Cole Porter cd and her last release had more traditional theatre selections.  I'll post about those cds later, but now I want to talk about her second cd, "Leaving Home" which is a departure from most theatre artist solo cds in that this cd has a folk rock theme to it and includes several songs from folk songwriters including two Joni Mitchell songs.

Now there are some theatre songs as well, including a duet with her fellow Secret Garden co- star Alison Fraser on a song from that show, "Wick"- but even the theatre songs are presented with folk rock arrangements.  And while you might think that this sounds like a terrible idea for a theatre based performer to do, the folk-rock feel to the cd combines perfectly with Luker's voice and her choice of material to present a cd that I think is one of the best from a Broadway performer.

The cd begins with the Mitchell classic "River" and Luker gives the song a nice amount of emotional depth.  Janis Ian's "Getting Over You" follows and Luker draws on the pain in the song beautifully.  Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" is next and this is an upbeat rocking number filled with a lovely beat.  Rebecca Luker's version of Carly Simon's "Boys in the Trees" has a beautiful arrangement filled with delicious harmonies.  Her take on Billy Joel's "You're My Home" is simply sublime -  The Lennon/McCartney song "She's Leaving Home" ends the cd and Luker more than delivers on this track, her voice wraps around the lyrics in a haunting beautiful way, this is my favorite track on the cd.

Now, the cd includes several theatre songs as well including "Cherish the Child" from the musical Lizzie Borden.  (This was actually co written by Christopher McGovern, who produced the cd, as well as produced Alison Fraser's cds.) "Ophelia" from an Amanda McBroom musical is a lovely story song with a driving arrangement.  "Fine" from the musical Crash Club, is another interesting story song with Luker perfectly painting the scene for you with a nice guitar arrangement and nice back up harmonies.  And her duet on "Wick" with Fraser is pure theatre joy.  

Check this cd out, I think you'll really like it.

Rebecca's Official Website

Amazon link for the cd Leaving Home

Amazon link for the MP3 download - Leaving Home
Amazon samples of the entire cd -

I couldn't find any video clips of Rebecca singing any of the songs from this cd - but here are a few that show off her beautiful voice -

Singning "The Man in the Street" -

The Sound of Music performance from the Today Show -

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