Becca, a virtual concert, will feature songs and stories from Luker’s career to benefit ALS research

By Alexia Fernández
April 16, 2021 03:13 PM
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Kristin Chenoweth, Laura Benanti and More of Broadway's Best To Honor the Life of Rebecca Luker
Credit: Thomas Concordia/Getty; Walter McBride/WireImage; Michael Tullberg/Getty

Broadway star Rebecca Luker will be honored in a moving virtual concert by many of her close friends and colleagues.

Luker, who died on Dec. 23 months after receiving an ALS diagnosis, will be remembered by Kristin Chenoweth, Laura Benanti, Judy Kuhn and more stars during a one-night streaming concert called Becca on May 4.

The concert, hosted by Target ALS, will feature stories and songs from Luker's career with 100% of the ticket sales benefitting ALS research. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.CelebrateBecca.com

Benanti, 41, tells PEOPLE she is "honored to be a part of the Becca concert and help honor my friend whose impression on me, and on so many others, will last a lifetime."

"I met Rebecca Luker in 1997. My first job on Broadway was understudying her in The Sound of Music. Becca was the reason why I felt like there was a place for me in the theater; she was like a Soprano angel," Benanti says. "I thought, 'if she can do it, maybe I can too.'"

"She was a light in this world. After The Sound of Music, when I would take on a new job, I would ask myself, 'What would Becca do? How would she handle herself?' She showed legions of sopranos that you can have fire and grit, nuance and humor, and you can do it all while being kind, and helpful, and a member of a community," Benanti continued. "Not just a star. Meanwhile, she shone brighter than all the stars in the sky."

"I hope that in some way it provides a sense of healing for anyone who loved Rebecca and that it brings important awareness to ALS and the fight against it," she added. 

Danny Burstein and wife Rebecca Luker
Rebecca Luker and Danny Burstein
| Credit: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Luker died on Dec. 23 at the age of 59 just 13 months after receiving her ALS diagnosis in late 2019.

Her husband, Moulin Rouge actor Danny Burstein, revealed her death in a moving essay in The Hollywood Reporter in January. 

"There is a void," Burstein wrote of Luker's death. "Becca was complicated and serious, insanely beautiful and silly, and funny and sexy and strong and stubborn and brilliantly talented."

Burstein was able to say his final words to Luker, his wife of over 20 years, writing he "told her that she'd been the most amazing wife, a wonderful mother to our sons, and that she's left the world a better place because of her music and her beauty."

"She heard me. I know she did. Her eyes focused directly on me," he wrote. "She tried to respond as tears ran down my face and she did manage to acknowledge what I'd said with a sudden push of breath from the very back of her throat — which must have taken every ounce of strength she had."

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The actress made her Broadway debut in 1988, joining the cast of The Phantom of the Opera as an understudy for the original star Sarah Brightman and taking over as Christine in 1989.

She was a three-time Tony Award nominee, receiving her first nomination in 1995 for her role as Magnolia in Show Boat and her second in 2000 for her leading role in The Music Man. Her third nod came in 2007 for Mary Poppins.

Several of Luker's Broadway friends will also perform during the online concert including Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera), Michael Cerveris (Fun Home), Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza), Santino Fontana (Tootsie), Howard McGillin (longest-running The Phantom of the Opera), Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess), Kelli O'Hara (The King and I) and Sally Wilfert (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer).

Becca will stream online on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. E.T./P.T.