Rachel Tucker is basically theatrical royalty, with a an impressive resume, an incredible voice and an extremely dedicated following. Currently touring the UK and about to start her second stint at the Zedel in London, Rachel was lovely enough to discuss what we can expect in her concerts, how she stays motivated, her dream role and much more…
What are some of your career highlights so far?
Wicked on Broadway, it was my absolute dream. The I’d Do Anything programme was a highlight, I loved it, it was great. Oh Wicked 10 is definitely the most recent highlight, it was amazing and a great night.
What keeps you motivated to keep working even when you’re knocked down?
I guess the belief in myself, I know I can do it. I think people get confused with not getting the job, they think that it’s a personal thing and 99% of the time it’s not. It’s just you’re not right for them or at that particular time or moment for whatever their reasons are. But it’s about remembering that it’s not me, it’s them. I mean not them, but their choice, not because I’m bad but because they don’t want me.
Elphaba is obviously a very iconic role. How do you add your own spin on such well known songs and characters?
I try and approach it with a fresh look at it and as close to Rachel as I can because I think it’s important to not copy and not be what everybody else thinks you should be and also because it’s boring to do it the way someone else has done it when you’re not being true to yourself. I’m a very honest person and I think it’s very important to be honest with everything you think and how you approach the music and songs and interpret it as close to yourself as you possibly can.
You have a lot of repertoire, so what can people expect when they come and see you perform your solo concerts?
I like an eclectic collection of songs. I’ve grown up with old school musicals and entertainers and also love very current stuff like Ed Sheeran and I love standards, like some jazz standards. I also love modern musical theatre as well as the old stuff. So yeah, a real mixed bag. A real collection… and a few surprises thrown in for good measure!
If you could bring any guest star on stage with you, dead or alive, who would you pick?
Sammy Davis Jr, Bette Midler and Sting. Oh and probably Beyonce!
You’ve performed in a variety of venues both in shows and on tour. Do you prefer the bigger, elaborate ones or the smaller, more intimate ones?
They’re all different, each of them brings a different thing. The intimate ones I think will be good to start out for me because they’re more informal and I love that. You know, I’m not a formal girl, I love being casual and being able to see people and their reactions so that’ll be nice. But I also love the big theatres where you have to look up to the balcony and get people joining in and singing along. So I like both.
You’re taking this tour to Broadway with 54 Below, but would you ever consider touring it over there?
I think maybe in time, I mean it’s taken ten years for me to be able to realistically tour the UK and these things I think take time so I think it’ll be a little while longer before doing anything like that in America.
What’s one talent you wish you could have?
I wish I could read music or play an instrument. Specifically the piano!
What are some funny moments you had either on stage or off stage?
Oh wow…. funny moments. I’m trying to think what ones I can tell you! At one point when I first did Wicked, I came back from holiday and I completely left out the whole bit of why Elphaba snatches the green bottle before ‘Popular’. I literally couldn’t remember a word of it and poor Gina Beck had to prompt me and say “was it because your mum was…..?” and she had to literally recite the whole paragraph and I just agreed with her. It was very scary!
Have you ever sneezed or got the hiccups in a performance?
Oh yeah completely. When I did The Wizard of Oz in Belfast, someone sneezed to me and I couldn’t finish my lines cause I was laughing so hard. So absolutely, yes.
If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?
Ohhh which show would I do next? I’d probably do a new show, a brand new show to originate and create a new role, yeah.
If you could go back to any era, when would you go to?
I think I’d go back to the 60s or actually probably the Hollywood MGM era like 20s or 30s
What is your go to karaoke song?
I recently went with my friend and I did ‘Simply The Best’ by Tina Turner!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or would like to give to someone hoping to get into the performing industry?
You’ve got to absolutely know your worth, know how good you are and be realistic with yourself and whether you can hack this industry. And think seriously if there’s something else you could do then you probably should go and do it because you know, there was nothing else I could do and I think you’ve got to be very dedicated and very driven and passionate and care a lot about it. And have patience, it takes years and years to get anywhere. It doesn’t just happen over night!
A huge thank you to Rachel for taking the time to talk to me. All of Rachel’s shows at the Zedel are currently sold out but you may be lucky and get a return! All information about her upcoming dates can be seen here.