I first encountered Rebecca Luker in the 2000 revival of The Music Man where she played Marian the Librarian opposite Craig Bierko’s Harold Hill. I thought she was merely capable until ‘My White Knight’ when she bowled my friends and I over, and stopped the show in one of the biggest ovations of many that evening. In 2002 she made an appearance with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for a centennial celebration of Richard Rodgers. The concert showcased Rodgers’ collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart, and was aired in two parts on PBS. Here is Luker singing my favorite rendition of “I’ll Tell the Man on the Street” from I Married an Angel (lyric by Hart).
I doubt we’d get another full scale revival of On Your Toes, an admittedly dated gem from Rodgers and Hart. But perhaps Encores! would give this generation the chance to see George Balanchine’s legendary choreography recreated. This is a clip of Lara Teeter and Tony-winner Natalia Makarova performing a large section of “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” from the hit 1983 revival. The ballet appears at the climax of the musical, its story that of a hoofer (originally Ray Bolger in 1936) who falls in love with a dance hall girl, in turn shot by her jealous gangster boyfriend, who himself is killed by the hoofer. The musical itself has parallel story going on – two gangsters are waiting to kill the hoofer playing the hoofer when the ballet finishes and he continues to dance after the ballet is over in an attempt to save his own life. The piece was incorporated into the repertoire of the New York City Ballet over forty years ago.