Rachel Tucker

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Rachel Tucker
Rachel Tucker Hampton Court 2009.jpg
Tucker performing at 'The Best of Broadway' at Hampton Court Palace 11th June 2009
Born Rachel Kelly Tucker
(1981-05-29) 29 May 1981 (age 33)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Occupation Actress, Singer
Years active 2005–present
Spouse(s) Guy Retallack
Children 1
Website
www.racheltucker.co.uk

Rachel Kelly Tucker (born 29 May 1981) is an Northern Irish singer and actress who competed as one of the finalists in the BBC talent show-themed television series I'd Do Anything in 2008. She is perhaps best known for playing Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked in the West End, where she has played the role longer than any other actress in the production's history.

Early life and career[edit]

Tucker was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up singing on the cabaret circuit from the age of 15 with her father, Tommy (Tucker) Kelly and sister Margaret Kelly under the group's name Tucker Kelly and the Kelstar.[citation needed] She was a member of the Arts Youth Theatre during the late 1990s featuring in shows such as Ecstasy and Our Day Out.[citation needed] She then went on to feature in Michael Poyners version of the Rockin Mikado as Katisha.[citation needed] She also featured as a contestant with sister Margaret on Michael Barrymore's My Kind of Music singing "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!".[citation needed] She also competed in the talent show Star for a Night making the final with her performance of "Kids".[citation needed]

Tucker trained at the Royal Academy of Music[1] She worked with Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead in the 2005 United Kingdom tour of the Rock musical, Tommy as Sally Simpson.[2] In December 2007 Tucker appeared as Dorothy in the Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of The Wizard of Oz at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. The Stage described her performance as "looking and sounding uncannily like the legendary Garland".[3] For her performance, she was nominated for an award in the 2008 TMA Awards.[4]

Tucker recorded a version of the civil rights anthem "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" which was used in a television advertisement for Libresse in 2005 entitled "March".[5]

In Fall 2014, Tucker will make her Broadway debut in the new musical The Last Ship.

I'd Do Anything[edit]

Tucker was chosen as one of the twelve finalists on the show in which began in March 2008, appearing each week in the live show on Saturday evenings and the Results show which aired each Sunday. She made it to the semi-finals in week nine where she was eliminated on 25 May. In week six she was in the bottom two with Sarah Lark, with Tucker having received the lowest number of viewers votes. In the Results show on 4 May they sang "As If We Never Said Goodbye", from the musical Sunset Boulevard. Andrew Lloyd Webber chose to save Tucker and eliminate Lark, saying "I have to think as a producer and I do think Rachel was rock solid."[6]

Tucker was once again in the bottom two in week eight, the quarter-final stage of the series. She was in the sing-off for a second time, this time with Niamh Perry, with Perry having received the lowest number of viewers votes. They sang "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from the musical Evita. Lloyd Webber chose to save Tucker and eliminate Perry.[7]

At the semi-final stage, week nine, Tucker was in the bottom two for a third time, together with Samantha Barks, who had received the lowest number of viewers votes. They sang "Memory" from the musical Cats. Cameron Mackintosh joined the judging panel for this episode. Lloyd Webber chose to save Barks and eliminate Tucker saying, "Last night Cameron and I were both saying that we thought both of you would be fantastic Nancys and now here am I faced with this. But I've got to make a decision and I've got to think of where the show ultimately for Cameron is going to go and I think I have to go with you Samantha.[8] A week after the show, Lloyd Webber said, "The fact is Cameron wanted Rachel to stay. He wanted Rachel and Samantha in the final from the beginning of the series. Rachel did a fantastic performance but I had to face up to the fact that she wouldn't have gone any further. What I may think professionally is sometimes different to what the public want. I saved Rachel three times and she still ended up in the bottom two."[9]

Performances on I'd Do Anything[edit]

Show Song Original Artist Result Bottom Two Performance
Week One "About You Now" Sugababes Safe N/A
Week Two "Beautiful" Christina Aguilera Safe N/A
Week Three "Oh, What a Night" Jersey Boys Safe N/A
Week Four "The Way We Were" Barbra Streisand Safe N/A
Week Five "I'm with You" Avril Lavigne Safe N/A
Week Six "For Once in My Life" Stevie Wonder Bottom Two "As If We Never Said Goodbye" (Sunset Boulevard)
Week Seven "You've Got a Friend" Carole King Safe N/A
Week Eight
(quarter-final)
"I Will Always Love You" Whitney Houston Bottom Two "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" (Evita)
Week Nine
(semi-final)
"Cabaret" Cabaret Eliminated "Memory" (Cats)

After I'd Do Anything[edit]

In July 2008, Tucker took part in a private workshop performance of the first act of the sequel to The Phantom of The Opera (Love Never Dies) at Andrew Lloyd Webber's private Sydmonton Festival near his estate in Hampshire, in which she sang the role of Meg Giry.[10] On 2 August 2008, in Belfast, she performed at the Gay Pride Festival. She sang a medley which included excerpts from Cabaret, "All That Jazz", "Maybe This Time" and "Don't Rain on My Parade". On 13 September 2008 she performed alongside fellow I'd Do Anything finalist Niamh Perry at the Proms in the Park, held at Belfast City Hall as part of the nationwide celebration of the BBC Last Night of the Proms.[11][12] The following day she performed at the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park show in Hyde Park, London, singing "Light at the End of The Tunnel" from Starlight Express.[13][14] In November 2008 Tucker filmed a West End special of The Weakest Link in which she was voted off first. The show was aired on BBC1 during the 2008 Christmas schedule.[15]

In late 2009, she was a judge on amateur comedy show Find Me the Funny and presented The Friday Show, a six-part entertainment series with Eamonn Holmes, both for BBC Northern Ireland.

We Will Rock You[edit]

From 22 September 2008 for one year, Tucker played Meat in the jukebox musical We Will Rock You, at the Dominion Theatre, London, under the direction of Christopher Renshaw. A review of the opening night performance of the show in The Stage newspaper said of Tucker's debut that she had "found the perfect stage for her large voice. Her rendition of 'No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)' is one of the highlights of a first act that works on many levels."[16] Tucker was also the first understudy to Sabrina Aloueche for the role of Scaramouche, and played the role on many occasions to cover Aloueche's holidays.

Wicked[edit]

Tucker starred as Elphaba in the West End production of the hit musical Wicked, at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, under the direction of Joe Mantello. She replaced Alexia Khadime on Monday 29 March 2010, starring opposite Louise Dearman (also her debut) as Glinda.[17] Fans and critics alike have since praised Tucker's performance of the green witch. For the entirety of her run, Nikki Davis-Jones was Tucker's standby, covering her holidays and other absences. On 1 August 2011, it was revealed that she had extended her contract with the production into October 2012. In of June 2012, she succeeded Kerry Ellis as the longest-running West End Elphaba.

For her portrayal of Elphaba, Tucker won a 2011 WhatsOnStage.com Award in the category of Best Takeover in a Role.[18] She performed "The Wizard and I" at West End Live 2010 and 2012 Laurence Olivier, and "Defying Gravity" at Pride London. On 13 February 2011, she performed "Defying Gravity" as part of a theatre-themed episode of Dancing on Ice for ITV. Tucker also sang the same hit song at West End Live 2011 which was held at Trafalgar Square.

On 10 September 2011, Tucker was joined on stage by Stacey Solomon to sing "For Good" at the end of the show. This was in aid of BBC Children in Need's Pop Goes the Musical, where a whole host of celebrities graced the stages of the West End of London to raise awareness for the charity's 2011 appeal.

On 19 March 2012, Tucker won the West End Frame Award for Best Performance of a Song in a Musical for her performance of Defying Gravity.[19]

On 2 August 2012, it was announced that Tucker would be replaced by her former co-star Dearman, who is the first actress ever to have played both Elphaba and Glinda in the musical (after Gina Beck took over the role of Glinda in 2011).[20][21] Tucker was departing for maternity leave and exited the show at the scheduled cast change on Saturday 27 October as announced, after over 900 performances. After giving an emotional speech to thank her fans over the years, Tucker noted that she "couldn't be more pleased" that her best friend Louise was replacing her, and that "The role is in great hands....[She knows Louise] will be taking great care of it". Louise Dearman took over the role on Monday 29 October 2012.

Farragut North[edit]

Tucker stars in Farragut North (play) playing the role of Ida, which premiered in London, UK at the Southwark Playhouse on September 11, 2013. Produced by Peter Huntley, in association with Daniel Krupnik and Southwark Playhouse, Directed by Guy Unsworth, the production also stars Max Irons in the role of Stephen, and features Shaun Williamson, Aysha Kala, Josh O’Connor, Alain Terzoli and Andrew Whipp.

The Last Ship[edit]

On February 12, 2014, it was announced via Tucker's Twitter account that she will be making her Broadway debut in Sting's new musical "The Last Ship" which will begin playing at the Neil Simon Theatre on September 30, 2014.[22] The musical follows the story of shipbuilders in the North East of England using music from Sting's album of the same name. It will also star Michael Esper and Jimmy Nail.[23]

Recordings[edit]

  • "Rain On Me" on the album More with Every Line - The Music of Tim Prottey-Jones (December 2010)

On 25 March 2013 it was announced that Tucker had been signed to Big Hand Recordings in a joint venture with Elate Studio and would release here debut solo album on 22 July 2013.[24]

The Reason[edit]

On 11 August 2013 "The Reason" was released digitally and physical copies began to ship. [25]

No. Title Originally by Length
1. "The Reason"   Celine Dion  
2. "Small Bump"   Ed Sheeran  
3. "Stone Cold Sober"   Paloma Faith  
4. "No One But You"   Queen  
5. "My Immortal"   Evanescence  
6. "One Night Only"   Tom Eyen  
7. "I'll Cover You"   Cast of RENT  
8. "Defying Gravity"   Stephen Schwartz  
9. "Gone Too Soon"   Michael Jackson  
10. "'Al Jolson and Judy Garland Medley with Rachels Dad'"   Al Jolson and Judy Garland  

On 17 July 2013, it was announced that there will be a delay with the album release, with the new release date expected to be 12 August.[26] The album launch concert went ahead on 25 July, effectively meaning those that had pre-ordered the album were not the first to hear the songs as planned.

Personal life[edit]

On Valentine's Day 2008, Tucker was engaged to theatre director Guy Retallack. The couple married in a ceremony at St. Anne's Cathedral in Tucker's hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 2009. Tucker gave birth to their first child Benjamin Anthony Retallack on 3 February 2013. Tucker's mother, Kathleen, died on 1 May 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "I'd Do Anything - Introducing Rachel Tucker". My Park Magazine. 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  2. ^ Lathan, Peter (2005). "Reviews - Tommy". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  3. ^ Coyle, Jane (2007-12-03). "Reviews: The Wizard of Oz". The Stage. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  4. ^ Smith, Alistair (2008-10-01). "TV talent finalists Blackman and Tucker up for TMA Awards". The Stage. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Libresse: "March"". Marshall Street Editors. 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  6. ^ "Reviewing the Situation: Week Six Result: Sarah was the sixth Nancy out.". BBC. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  7. ^ "I'd Do Anything". 1. Episode 18. 2008-05-18.
  8. ^ "Reviewing the Situation: Week Nine Result Rachel was the ninth Nancy to leave". BBC. 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  9. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (2008-05-31). "Nancy judges fell out over Rachel's exit". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  10. ^ "First Act of 'Phantom Sequel' to have private reading". broadwayworld.com. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  11. ^ "Singers tune up for Proms". The News Letter. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  12. ^ "BBC Proms in the Park". Ulster Orchestra. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  13. ^ "Singers tune up for Proms". The News Letter. 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  14. ^ Shenton, Mark (2008-09-14). "Paige, Menzel, Barrowman and More Celebrate Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  15. ^ West End Musical Stars Line Up for Weakest Link.
  16. ^ Matthewman, Scott (2008-09-23). "Review - We Will Rock You". The Stage. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  17. ^ Smith, Alistair (2010-01-15). "Rachel Tucker to join Wicked as new Elphaba". The Stage. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  18. ^ "Legally Blonde scoops four What's On Stage awards". BBC News. 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  19. ^ http://www.westendframe.com/2012/12/WestEndFrameAwards-2012WinnersList.html
  20. ^ Rachel Tucker Extends as 'Elphaba' in West End's WICKED into 2012
  21. ^ http://www.whatsonstage.com/news/theatre/london/E8831343983271/Louise%20Dearman%20makes%20history%20in%20Wicked,%20swaps%20Glinda%20for%20Elphaba.html
  22. ^ "Stars of Stings new musical". Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  23. ^ BBC News, BBC News. "Sting Musical Finds Home on Broadway". BBC. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  24. ^ http://www.westendframe.com/2013/03/rachel-tucker-to-release-debut-solo.html
  25. ^ https://twitter.com/racheltucker1/status/366507042757804034
  26. ^ http://racheltucker.bigcartel.com/product/rachel-tucker-the-reason-signed-copies-pre-order

External links[edit]