This is Rebecca Luker, who starred as Marian Paroo, singing "Goodnight, My Someone.". Yesterday, I told the story about how a good friend of mine who grew up in New York and saw the original production of The Music Man repeated times and swore by Baraba Cook's original performance, said that it wasn't until seeing Ms. Luker that anyone came close. (Readers of these pages will also recall the many articles I wrote about seeing the World Premiere 1997 production of Barry Mannlow's musical Harmony in San Diego, and Luker was in that show. And not shockingly, was a gem.)
When they did a TV version of The Music Man in 2003 with Matthew Broderick, they cast Kristen Chenoweth to play Marian. It always bothered me that they didn't have Rebecca Luker re-create her part. It's not that Chenoweth was better known -- again this was back 12 years ago, and she wasn't. She'd done a few things on TV, but all in small supporting roles. She was largely a Broadway star -- but then, so too was Luker, who had three Tony nominations at that point. (More since.) And great as Kristen Chenoweth's singing is, Luker's voice is, I think, the more proper range for Marian. One odd possibility that I've wondered is that Matthew Broderick is pretty short, and Ms. Chenoweth is extremely short. Rebecca Luker might be taller, and therefore not as good a "fit." Or...maybe they just wanted Kristen Chenoweth. I like her. She was absolutely fine. But I think Rebecca Luker is better for the role. And deserved the chance to re-create it on film.
In my article yesterday, I also more accurately described her has "the ethereal Rebecca Luker."
If you don't know her work, here's why.
Bonus note: after posting this, I came across Rebecca Luker singing this song onstage during a live performance. I thought about swapping out videos, but I figured that since Craig Bierko got his Boston Pops performance with good sound quality, Rebecca Luker deserved her, as well. But if you want to see that onstage video, as well, just click here.