‘Becca’ Fundraiser Set for May 4 to Honor Broadway Star Who Died of ALS

‘Becca’ Fundraiser Set for May 4 to Honor Broadway Star Who Died of ALS
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To honor the memory of Broadway actor and singer Rebecca Luker, who died of complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) last year, Target ALS will present a live-streamed concert on May 4.

All proceeds will go to support ALS research, the nonprofit group announced.

The show, called “Becca,” will feature songs and stories from Luker’s three-decade career, performed by a host of Broadway regulars. Tickets are $20, and the Tuesday event will be aired separately to begin at 7:30 p.m. for those in Eastern and Pacific U.S. time zones, and those in UCT time zone of the U.K.

“This show is about celebrating who Rebecca was both onstage and off and reminding us that each life is precious,” Steve Schonberg, who oversees public relations for Target ALS, said in a press release.

“ALS not only affects patients, but their family, friends, and colleagues, too. This concert serves multiple purposes: providing a sense of healing to those who loved Rebecca, telling the story of another beautiful life cut short, and raising funds that can help us realize a world where no one dies of ALS,” Schonberg added.

The lineup of performers slated for “Becca” includes Laura Benanti (“Gypsy”), Michael Cerveris (“Fun Home”), Sierra Boggess (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Phantom of the Opera”), Victoria Clark (“The Light in the Piazza”), Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,”“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”), Judy Kuhn (“Fun Home”), Santino Fontana (“Tootsie”), Howard McGillin (“The Phantom of the Opera”), Kelli O’Hara (“The King and I”), Norm Lewis (“Porgy and Bess”), and Sally Wilfert (“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”).

Its honorary producer is Lucy Simon, who wrote the music for Luker’s first original role on Broadway, that of Lily in “The Secret Garden.” The production will be hosted by Emmy winner Frank DiLella.

“I want to thank all of the incredible performers who will help bring this beautiful tribute to life by celebrating their beloved friend Rebecca. She was one of many — too many — affected by the disease and it surely ripples still as her friends and family cope with such a tremendous loss,” said Manish Raisinghani, PhD, the CEO of Target ALS, which supports research into this disease.

“The ALS research community has made great strides, many fueled by Target ALS, but we’re not there yet. It’s efforts like this concert that remind us how powerful the community is and how we can help scientists achieve transformative breakthroughs,” added Raisinghani.

Target ALS launched its $15 million Target ALS Diagnosis Initiative in November, with a goal of discovering much-needed ALS biomarkers that would  allow physicians to more readily distinguish people with ALS from those without this progressive neurodegenerative condition. Biomarkers also can help to gauge ALS progression, and provide reliable measures for determining the value of potential treatments.

Luker died at age 59 in December, 10 months after she announced her ALS diagnosis.

Known for her operatic soprano voice, among the Tony-nominated actor and singer Broadway appearances were “Fun Home,” “Cinderella,” “Mary Poppins,” “Nine,” “The Music Man,” “The Sound of Music,” “Showboat,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Inês holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in blood vessel biology, blood stem cells, and cancer. Before that, she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and worked as a research fellow at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Inês currently works as a Managing Science Editor, striving to deliver the latest scientific advances to patient communities in a clear and accurate manner.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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