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Rachel Tucker: ‘Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart.’

‘My favourite start to my working day and I’m only allowed one of them – is a triple shot americano,’ grins Rachel Tucker.

I follow her lead and order one for myself at the Pret on Shaftesbury Avenue – just off Cambridge Circus where we meet.

It’s a joy interviewing Tucker; a unique combination of quirkiness and elegance.

She found fame on the BBC tv talent series I’d Do Anything ten years ago and has since starred in The Last Ship alongside Sting, blown our minds as Elphaba in Wicked, in London and on Broadway, released solo albums and more.

Now Tucker is starring in Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s folksy musical Come From Away. She believes that the core of the story is ‘looking out for one another, doing what is right’ and ‘like a medicine for the soul.’ The show tells the tale of 7,000 stranded air passengers amid the chaos of 9/11 and the tiny town in Newfoundland that took them in.

In a 12-strong ensemble, Tucker plays Beverley Bass – the first female captain for American Airlines. Through slick staging and manoeuvring the show recreates a plane full of passengers using limited props; including a rubber cod, a mop and rearranged chairs. Come From Away’s greatest triumph is to set complex lyrics drawn from tragic circumstances to a show about the citizens of Gander during 9/11, where all domestic flights were grounded across the US following a terrorist attack.

The show opened in January in Dublin ahead of its West End transfer and is in great shape. ‘They knew what they were doing – they knew the process in Dublin was the start of the maturity point of the show,’ she says. ‘Dublin was so helpful to find the groove and learn the moves. It takes time to embed it in our body and our minds and souls. It’s taken me 3 months to learn how to sing ‘Me and The Sky’ like that! Our rehearsal process was very intense – we had to get the chair choreography into our brains – at first, we didn’t feel very artistic doing it. But there is a method to the madness – and they’d been through it a few times before in previous productions. The pressure was immense, though.’

It makes sense, then, that Come from Away recently received nine nominations for the 2019 Olivier awards, and Tucker has been nominated in the best actress in a supporting role in a musical category. Up against her, in a ridiculously strong category, are Patti LuPone for Company; Ruthie Ann Miles for The King and I; and the six ‘queens’ for their turn as Henry VIII’s wives.

Where was she when she found out? ‘Do you know what?’ she says. ‘I was in my bed, at home alone and watching Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Netflix series on my laptop and my phone went berserk,’ Tucker smiles.

‘Honestly, Carl, just receiving this nomination, I feel like I’ve accomplished something that I’ve always dreamed about. This – for where I’m at in my life, in my career and alongside my ambitions – I could cry now thinking about it.’

We discuss the recent controversy surrounding Seyi Omooba, the performer who said that homosexuality was not ‘right’ in a Facebook post and is no longer part of the upcoming Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of The Color Purple.

‘Oh dear’, Tucker begins.

‘If you have strong opinions that might offend other people – keep them to yourself,’ she says. ‘Go home and tell your mum or your church. It’s up to you if you have those beliefs and you choose to do a job that represents the exact opposite. I’m really not sure how you reconcile that morally… Especially in this climate – it’s a tricky playing field and in the arts, which is a place that presents itself as inclusive and liberal. It’s really unfortunate that this has happened.’

At one point, we talk about west end ticket prices. ‘When I look out to the audience every night it is a sea of white Caucasian, middle class human beings. I wish I could change it,’ she begins. ‘It upsets me that it is always a sea of white faces and that it’s not shifted any further, especially for our show,’ Tucker affirms.

She doesn’t mind being asked about the challenges of childcare and being a working parent. This topic is nothing new yet the attitudes toward parenting are slowly changing. ‘Listen, I don’t love people getting on their high horse – the young woman who does my hair at the Phoenix Theatre is thinking about starting a family – or when to- and often asks me how I managed and manage it,’ she says. ‘It’s hard. But if my experience can help somebody then that’s amazing. Therefore, talking about childcare, for me, is essential. My husband in fact, does more of the childcare – so personally it isn’t restricted to being a woman thing.’

So, what could theatre do to support parents and carers? ‘Childcare is not cheap,’ she says. ‘But what if there was something like West End Day Care during the two show days and Equity paid half and we paid half? A scheme to help men and women to mind their kids so that we can do our shows. I’d love that to happen!’

Who inspires her? ‘Shoshana Bean,’ she replies. ‘She is incredible – I listen to her album on the way in and out of work every day. Her passion for the industry and for giving back is so incredible. Plus, she’s generous. Shoshana really is a one-woman band and I admire that. Someone who went from a regular Broadway performer to establishing herself as a household name. She is the biggest inspiration right this second to me,’ she smiles.

Tucker hopes that we all get behind Come From Away. She adores the show, adding that she believes that she has ‘the privilege of telling this story night after night – a true story – I know how much of an inspiration this story is to so many and what this means to our audiences –I hold that very close to my heart. I love it.’

She ends by reiterating that this new musical really is for everyone. ‘I promise that Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart. It is a reminder that there is still goodness and kindness within us all.’

‘You will leave with a full heart and you will want to speak to your neighbour and you will want to be a better person,’ Tucker insists.

What a woman.

Come From Away is at Phoenix theatre, London, until March 2020.

#WeAllComeFromAway

Lambert Jackson announce debut production There’s Nothin’ Like A Dame –100 years of women in Musical Theatre At Cadogan Hall

Nothin' Like a Dame
Nothin' Like a Dame

Nothin’ Like a Dame

Lambert Jackson presents its debut show There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame – 100 Years of Women in Musical Theatre a one-night celebration of women in musical theatre. Louise DearmanRia JonesAlexia Khadime and Rachel Tucker come together to perform songs from some of the most famous female roles over the past century.

This super group of amazing leading ladies will perform for one night at the stunning Cadogan Hall in London to celebrate 100 years of female characters in musical theatre. From classics like Rogers and Hammerstein to modern smash hits, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz, this show has something for everyone, and is a unique opportunity to see these four incredible performers in concert together in a beautiful, historic London venue.

Jamie Lambert, CEO of Lambert Jackson, “We feel like this is the year of the woman and so it seems the perfect moment for There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame, which will be a glorious celebration of women in musicals over the past 100 years. This is our debut production and we can’t wait to show fans of musical theatre what more we have planned. Coming from a performance background, we are determined to be a company who are fair, who look after their performers and who put on fantastic, creative and beautiful shows.”

Louise Dearman’s theatre credits include Grease (Victoria Palace Theatre/UK tour), Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre/UK tour), Debbie Does Dallas (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Tell Me On A Sunday (international tour), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatEvitaJudy (UK tour), The Waterbabies (Curve), Wicked (Apollo Victoria) and Sideshow (Southwark Playhouse). She has also performed as a soloist in concerts across the UK in venues including Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall. Dearman has released four solo albums, You and IHere Comes the Sun, It’s Time and Bond and Beyond.

Ria Jones’ theatre credits include (UK tour), Evita (Opera House, Manchester), Chess (Prince Edward Theatre), Cats (New London Theatre), Les Miserables (UK tour/Queen’s Theatre),  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Apollo Hammersmith/UK tour), Nine (Donmar Warehouse), Personals  (New End Theatre, Hampstead), A Little Night Music  (Leicester Haymarket), Romance RomanceVictor Victoria (Bridewell Theatre), High Society (UK tour/Shaftesbury Theatre), 42nd Street (Curve), Acorn Antiques, Sunset Boulevard, The Witches of Eastwick and Anything Goes (UK tour) for which she was nominated for a UK Theatre Award for best performance in a musical.

Alexia Khadime‘s theatre credits include The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria), Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre) and The Book of Mormon(Prince of Wales Theatre – for which she won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical as well as a BroadwayWorld  Award and the West End Wilma Award for Best Supporting Role in a Musical). Her credits for film include, Les Miserables.

Rachel Tucker’s theatre credits include Two (Bridge House Theatre), The Last Ship (Neil Simon Theatre, New York/Bank of America Theatre, Chicago),Communicating Doors (Menier Chocolate Factory), Farragut North (Southwark Playhouse), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre) and Wicked (Gershwin Theatre/Apollo Victoria – for which she was awarded the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Takeover in a Role). Tucker has also released three solo albums, The ReasonKingdoms and On the Road.

There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame – 100 Years of Women in Musical Theatre                                Cadogan Hall

5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ

Box Office: 020 7730 4500 

www.cadoganhall.com

Cadogan Hall

Thursday 30 August, 7.30pm

Tickets: from £28

LAMBERT JACKSON

Lambert Jackson is a production company dedicated to producing musical theatre shows and stunning one-night performances. Founded by Jamie Lambert (CEO) and Eliza Jackson (Creative Director), the company will make its debut at Cadogan Hall in August 2018 with There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame – 100 Years of Women in Musical Theatre.

Jamie Lambert has worked extensively since 2014 after winning Britain’s Got Talent with his band Collabro.  Having sold over 1 million albums and performed to over 100 million people worldwide, Collabro have earned their place as the world’s most successful musical theatre vocal group. Outside of the group, Lambert is also a regular presenter on The Wright Stuff and has also hosted the Olivier Awards red carpet and backstage show twice.

Eliza Jackson, Creative Director, is a performer who has appeared in A Chorus Line (Bridewell Theatre) and is currently rehearsing for the world première of her one-woman show, Voice Behind the Stars which opens at The Other Palace on Tuesday 10 July before a run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018.

Twitter:                @LJProds

Instagram:          @lambertjacksonproductions

Facebook:           /lambertjacksonproductions

Rachel Tucker, the musical theatre star on first ever solo UK Tour

Rachel Tucker
Rachel Tucker

Rachel Tucker

Following a triumphant nine month run on Broadway as lead role ‘Elphaba’ in the smash hit musical Wicked, stage star Rachel Tucker embarks on an eleven date solo tour throughout the UK.

Audiences can expect up close and personal performances of musical theatre favourites, along with some classic jazz, soul and a few surprises thrown in for good measure. The show will feature special guests and musical theatre luminaries Samantha Barks, Oliver Tompsett and Louise Dearman at various dates along the way.

Having played Elphaba for longer than any other actress in the production’s history, Rachel has just finished reprising the role in London’s West End as part of Wicked’s special 10th anniversary cast.

Stepping out of her character for these ‘one of a kind’ productions, the solo tour will be a chance to witness the widely-celebrated entertainer stage an intimate and unique show, with music never before performed by Rachel, alongside some of the favourites that she is known for.

Rachel Tucker rose to fame as a finalist on the BBC One show ‘I’d Do Anything’, winning heaps of praise from both Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, subsequently performing at Lloyd Webber’s ‘Birthday In The Park’ show in London’s Hyde Park and later taking on a range of roles in some of the West End’s best shows, before making her Broadway debut in ‘The Last Ship’, a new musical written by the rock icon Sting.

Her brand new solo spectacular will be directed by her husband Guy Retallack, renowned for his work on an eclectic range of productions including new plays, devised work, musicals, opera and classical concerts, as well as his achievements as a sought after acting coach. Musical director Kris Rawlinson, responsible for notable work across a wide range of theatre productions, will also lead proceedings with his vibrant and talented ensemble. The tour is brought to you by Fane Productions in partnership with Parallel Productions.

Tour Dates:

 13th & 14th May      MAC                           Belfast
Concert On 13th Sold Out

19th May              Gate Theatre                 Cardiff

20th May               Music Room                  Maidstone

29th May              Gala Theatre                 Durham

30th May              Grand Theatre              Lancaster

31st May              The Apex                      Bury St Edmund’s

Special Guest:        Louise Dearman
3rd June               Capitol Theatre             Horsham

Special Guest:         Oliver Tompsett

5th, 6th, 7th June  Live At Zedel                 London

Special Guests:        Samantha Barks, 5th June / Oliver Tompsett, 7th June

9th & 10th June    Pizza Express Live          Birmingham