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With her new album, Greenwich Time, Broadway star Rebecca Luker (The Secret Garden, Show Boat, the Sound of Music, the Music Man, Nine: The Musical) gives voice to the work of bold new songwriters while honoring a generation of musical theatre giants - including Jule Styne, John Kander and Maury Yeston - with some of their most deeply personal dramatic ballads. Greenwich Time's daring collection of songs celebrates the anticipation, joy, and wonderment of love, and Luker's shimmering, soaring soprano embraces every note. Each song stands as a self-contained moment of intimacy, at turns comic, tender, and breathtaking, as in 'Summer with You,' the world premiere of the rare song with both music and lyrics by John Kander; the shattering 'Killing Time,' by Jule Styne & Carolyn Leigh; Paul Loesel & Scott Burkell's thrilling 'Ohio, 1904;' and Joseph Thalken & Marshall Barer's witty, sardonic 'Billions of Beautiful Boys.'
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But, as I look back almost 15 years, it appears that she has never realized the stardom for which she seemed destined with her beauty of figure and voice. I remember reading an interview where Rebecca said that she wanted her career to extend to TV and movies, as Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald have done in recent past. That has not happened. Subsequent to Show Boat she had the female lead in two decently successful revivals: The Music Man and The Sound of Music, which both resulted in cast albums. In between she gave a memorable performance in the ENCORES weekend revival of The Boys From Syracuse. She created one of her signature songs here with Rodgers & Hart's "Falling in Love with Love" and was equally impressive leading a threesome in the joyous "Sing for Your Suppper." (See YouTube) But she has never won a Tony. Even more to the point, Greenwich Time is only her third album to be released in all these years, while dozens of inferiors push out an album a year.
Thus I am surprised that she chose to include on the album a selection of songs of which most will not be familiar with even one, accepting the risk that the album will not be a commercial success. And almost all the songs are ballads. Listened to individually, most of the performances are at least fine. Loved "Ohio, 1904" and "Summer with You." A few times when I had the album playing in the background while working it seemed to me that the ballad after ballad was a bit monotonous.
I also could have done without the two confessional "singing the words" pieces "Lovely Lies" and "He Never Did That Before." I rather liked the thought that, growing up in the deep South, Ms. Luker was a little more conservative and possessed a little more dignity than the "Sex and the City" crowd to whom she was playing to with these songs. But that of course is just my prejudice.
By no means can Rebecca Luker's career be seen as anything but a great success and I think that she may go on to be one of our greatest cabaret performers. Could she have been as fabulously popular as Kristin or Audra? Perhaps she did not want to be. Now, apparently, happily married and fifty years old, if she wants to give exposure to songs that she loves that have been neglected than that is what she will do. And her fans will follow her and that sublime voice.
It seems all the great ones are doing an album for PS classics.
On all these albums most of the songs are rare and unheard.
Most of these are songs are difficult for me to absorb.
However 2 songs UNUSUAL WAY from 'Nine' by Maury Yeston and an unheard song by
John Kander "Summer With You are fabulous.
There are always these types of songs on PS classics worthy of your time.