Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Broadway Star Rebecca Luker Sings “Memory” from Cats with the Orchestra at Temple Square

On August 17, 2012, Broadway actress Rebecca Luker joined Stanford Olsen and Dallyn Vail Bayles on the Conference Center stage to perform for President Thomas S. Monson’s 85th birthday celebration. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and news anchor Jane Clayson Johnson were the masters of ceremony for the evening.

Luker is a three-time Tony Award nominee and two-time Drama Desk Award nominee and has starred in 10 Broadway shows including The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Mary Poppins, The Phantom of the Opera, The Secret Garden, and Cinderella to name a handful.

Prior to Luker’s touching performance of “Memory” from the musical Cats, co-host Steve Young said, “President Monson, we all wish you a happy birthday and many more birthdays to come. Thank you for your service and for the way you have inspired us to serve one another. The memories you share with us show us what happiness is. Through your example, literally thousands of us around the world can say a new and golden day has begun.” 

In the 1981 musical Cats, “Memory” is performed by the character Grizabella, which was originated by actress Elaine Paige. In the musical’s opening year in London’s West End, “Memory” won the Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. When composer Andrew Lloyd Webber asked for his father’s opinion on the song, he replied, “It sounds like a million dollars.”

The most notable cover versions of “Memory” were recorded by Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, and Elaine Paige. Manilow’s 1982 version of the song is the highest-charting version to date, reaching No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Memory” has also been covered by numerous other artists, including Johnny Mathis, Sarah Brightman, Michael Ball, Judy Collins, and Jackie Evancho. 

Rebecca Luker with President Thomas S. Monson

Luker also performed “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera during the concert. Watch »

Watch the entire “Golden Days” concert for President Thomas S. Monson’s 85th birthday celebration: