Rachel Tucker is a Northern Irish born singer and actress, who is best known for staring as Elphaba in Wicked: The Musical, for the West End and Broadway production, alongside various other theatrical performances.
She was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 29th May 1981. She 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. After various other minor performance roles, Rachel then decided to train at the Royal Academy of Music.
Various Theatre Work
She worked with Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead in the 2005 United Kingdom tour of the Rock musical, Tommy as Sally Simpson. In December 2007, Tucker appeared as Dorothy Gale in the Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of The Wizard of Oz at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
I'd Do Anything
In March 2008, Rachel entered the BBC competition 'I'd Do Anything', in which Andrew Lloyd Webber searched for an actress to play the role of Nancy in the West End production of Oliver. Rachel was amongst twelve hopefuls. She made it to the semi-finals in week nine where she was eliminated on 25 May. Despite this, Rachel still managed to come fourth in the competition.
We Will Rock You
From 22 September 2008, for one year, Tucker played Meat in the jukebox musical We Will Rock You, at the Dominion Theatre, London. 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". 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.
On the 29th of March 2010, Rachel replaced Alexia Khadime in the role of Elphaba in the West End's production of Wicked, making Rachel the fourth actress to portray the character. As part of the cast change for 2010, Louise Dearman replaced Dianne Pikington as Ginda, who therefore starred alongside Rachel initially.
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 June 2012, she succeeded Kerry Ellis as the longest-running West End Elphaba, due to her 31 month tenure.
On December 12, 2011, Louise Dearman left Wicked, of which she was replaced by Gina Beck.
Rachel performed "The Wizard and I" at West End Live 2010 and the Laurence Olivier awards in 2012. "Defying Gravity" was performed at Pride London 2010, West End Live 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Rachel also performed the song as part of a theatre-themed episode of Dancing on Ice for ITV.
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.
For her portrayal of Elphaba, Rachel won a 2011 "WhatsOnStage.com" award in the category of Best Takeover in a Role. She also won the West End Frame Award for Best Performance of a Song in a Musical for her performance of "Defying Gravity".
On 2 August 2012, it was announced that Tucker would be replaced by her former co-star Louise Dearman, who is the first actress ever to have played both Elphaba and Glinda in the musical. Tucker was departing for maternity leave and exited the show at the scheduled cast change on 27 October 2012, 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." Dearman took over the role on 29 October 2012.
It was announced on Tuesday 18th August 2015 that from Tuesday 15th September, Rachel would take over the lead role of Elphaba from Caroline Bowman on Broadway, starring alongside Jonah Platt, making his Broadway debut, as Fiyero. This makes her the second British actress to portray Elphaba on Broadway and the fourth actress to have played the role on Broadway and in the West End. Rachel's original departure date was in mid-June but in May 2016, extended her contract (alongside Jonah Platt) to Sunday 31st July 2016.
Return to the West End
On Friday 20th May 2016, it was announced that Rachel will be returning to the London company of Wicked to reprise her role of Elphaba for a third time as of Monday 5th September 2016. She will be joining Wicked London's 10th Anniversary Cast, which includes Suzie Mathers as Glinda, Anita Dobson as Madame Morrible and others. Rachel will finish her performances as Elphaba in the West End on Saturday 28th January 2017.
On 29 September 2013, Rachel released her debut album "The Reason". This album featured covers of her favourite songs, which include Defying Gravity.
In October 2014, Rachel made her Broadway debut in Sting's new musical The Last Ship.
On 15th May 2017, Tucker released second limited edition album, "On The Road", in honour of her first UK Tour which ran from 13th May 2017 until 10th June 2017. It featured more covers of a range of songs, including No Good Deed, as well as her first original song, I'm Falling, co-written with Kris Rawlinson and a duet of You Matter to Me with former co-star, Lee Mead.