Showing posts sorted by relevance for query rachel tucker. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query rachel tucker. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review


Rachel Tucker (concert)
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Tuesday June 6th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Rachel Tucker is a superstar of the stage and is currently on a long awaited tour around the UK before heading to New York for a stint at the iconic, 54 Below. Now I knew Rachel's voice was good from the I'd Do Anything days, videos online and of course from seeing her in Wicked but I was completely blown away when I saw her solo performance last night. Rachel's voice is powerful, emotive, beautiful and her overall stage presence is that of a true star.

Rachel's set consisted of a number of upbeat songs to more balladic slow pieces with the flow from jubilation to tears completely smooth and seamless. The whole concert seemed so well put together and like a huge amount of thought had gone into each song and placement, it was really a night of everything. Opening the show with "Miss Otis Regrets", Rachel immediately created a bond with the audience and won over the room with her huge presence and personality.

Moving wonderfully into a rendition of "Candyman", Rachel kept the atmosphere bright and warm and set the stage for an evening of glorious entertainment. The segway into each song was done flawlessly, a sign of Rachel's stage training from a young age. The transition from "Waving Through a Window" (beautiful) to "Climbing Uphill" was particularly entertaining with Rachel reenacting a bad audition before giving a hilarious performance of the Jason Robert Brown classic.

As her special guest for the night, Rachel introduced Samantha Barks (who we all know I love) at the end of act one for a rendition of "Nowadays/All That Jazz" from Chicago. This was a particular treat for us Londoners who didn't get to see Samantha as Velma Kelly in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl and it was a marvellous end to the first half.

The second half of the concert was just as seamless and brilliant as the first, with little anecdotes sprinkled throughout and an absolutely hilarious tribute to Tina Turner which Rachel explained was her unique selling point when she used to perform with her dad.  Needless to say, the audience loved the ridiculously fantastic and energetic performance of "Proud Mary/River Deep Mountain High".

Samantha and Rachel joined forces again with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of Wicked's "For Good" which was lovely to hear and joyous to see the two friends performing such a beautiful song in the intimate setting of the Crazy Coqs, Zedel.

Not only is Rachel's singing top notch, but her acting and interpretation of music is outstanding. Able to go from elation to heartbreaking sincerity in a matter of bars. Act two saw Rachel perform "The Man That Got Away" which was just phenomenal and left the audience in pin-drop silent awe. Rachel closed the show with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and the Ed Sheeran favourite, "Castle on a Hill" which really summed up the evening and gave the audience the whole spectrum of emotions once again and gave Rachel her third and final standing ovation of the evening.

Rachel is just a sensational performer and last nights concert was completely faultless. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything more from Rachel or Samantha except for them to sing more and serenade me for the rest of my life! Rachel is truly remarkable, a joy to watch and a brilliant inspiration for anyone wanting to perform. If you get the chance to see Rachel in concert, or in any other show then 100000% take the opportunity as you do not want to miss the chance to be blessed be her performance of dreams and pipes from heaven!

Read my interview with Rachel here: https://goo.gl/FyfrTy

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review


Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir (Concert) 
Shoreditch Town Hall 
Reviewed on Friday 17th November 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll probably have twigged that I'm a huge fan of Wicked star, Rachel Tucker. Most recently I saw her perform as a special guest at Kristin Chenoweth's concert and previously in Wicked and her solo concerts at the Zedel; every single time she has completely blown me away with her effortless performances and last night was no exception.

Rachel is a masterful performer, both in terms of her faultless vocals and her ability to embody and live every song she sings.  She is magical in the way she transports the audience into her thoughts and make us feel the emotions she's portraying as if we're experiencing them ourselves. The way she interprets songs is unique, extremely moving and I find it incredibly impressive how she is able to switch so quickly from one mood to another. 


During act 2 Rachel came off the stage to perform an a capella folk song which had the audience in enraptured silence but within moments of finishing she snapped back to her larger-than-life, joyous self and had the audience laughing out loud. That ability to manipulate an audience's emotions is truly remarkable.

The set list for the night included something for everyone from theatre classics such as 'Children Will Listen' to pop songs and a personal favourite, her own composition 'I'm Falling' which always wows me. This varied programme meant the night flew by and by the time it came to her second encore we still wanted more! Other stand outs included 'The Man That Got Away' and Kris Rawlinson's stunning arrangement of 'No Good Deed' which brings new life to the Wicked classic. Kris and Rachel make the perfect duo, bouncing off one another both comedically and musically. Also great, were Jodie Steele and Amanda Coutts who doubled as stage managers and back up singers- 'Proud Mary' was brilliant and got the entire audience on their feet!

With a few ex-Elphaba's and Galinda's in attendance, it was Emma Hatton who took the stage as the special guest of the night. Dressed in a suitably emerald dress, Emma joined forces with Rachel to perform a jazzed up version of 'I'm Not That Girl' and a lively version of 'That's Life'; the two work wonderfully together and it's so enjoyable to see them having fun on stage together. Also joining Rachel were the Stagebox choir who helped out with a notably touching performance of 'You Will Be Found' from Dear Evan Hansen.


Overall it was just a joyous night of glorious music. Rachel is one of the most versatile performers I've seen; funny, relaxed and charming, her voice is like no other. Powering through every song with her own personal style- belting it out and emotionally reigning it in with equal skill and motivation. Rachel is at the top of her game- a master of her craft who continually delivers time and time again. This was billed as Rachel's 'biggest solo concert to date' but I sincerely hope things get bigger and bigger for her as she continues to charm and wow audiences around the world... but preferably mostly in London so I can be at them all!

Watch my vlog of the concert here

Friday, 31 August 2018

There is Nothing Like a Dame, Cadogan Hall | Review


There is Nothing Like a Dame (Concert) 
Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Thursday 30th August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Combine four of the most talented female performers to have ever graced the West End stages and a celebration of 100 years of Women in musical theatre and you have a stellar debut show from Lambert Jackson.

West End superstars Rachel Tucker, Louise Dearman, Ria Jones and Alexia Khadime joined forces to showcase some of the most iconic female roles of the last 100 years and highlight the positive changes that are happening for women in the industry. Every song seemed to top the last and it was a truly uplifting night at Cadogan Hall.

The concert opened with all four ladies floating onto the stage accompanied by rapturous applause to perform Anything Goes which set the benchmark for the night extremely high and began our journey through a number of beautiful solo's, duets, trios and quartets.


The ladies gave all round stellar performances, with highlights including a great medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs; Rachel Tucker sung a hilariously drawly version of I Can't Say No, Alexia Khadime a playful I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Outa My Hair, Ria Jones a graceful Shall We Dance and Louise Dearman a pin-drop perfect, You'll Never Walk Alone.

Since seeing Louise Dearman in her solo concert earlier this year, I have been continually surprised by her versatility as a performer and she once again showcased her ability to transform both her vocals and mannerisms to fit any style. Louise is truly a musical theatre chameleon; her performance of I Dreamed a Dream was certainly a stand out.

Other highlights included Ria Jones' With One Look from Sunset Boulevard which brought the audience to their feet, Alexia Khadime's heartfelt, Home from The Wiz and a lovely rendition of In His Eyes from Jekyll and Hyde from Rachel Tucker and Louise Dearman. Mention must also go to the wonderful duet from the three former Elphaba's, Louise Dearman, Alexia Khadime and Rachel Tucker who put a fresh spin on The Wizard and I.


The audience were also treated to a peek at the future of the West End with a great and powerful performance of Don't Rain on my Parade from Daisy Greenwood who won a competition to perform at the concert. Aged only 17, she commanded the stage and is sure to be seen again among the great performers.

It must also be pointed out how fantastic all four ladies looked, donning two glamourous gowns each and embodying the superstar vibes. Also joyous to watch, was the way all the women supported one another and watched each other as if in awe. Women supporting women is just as important now than it's ever been and it's wonderful to see women who could so easily see each other as competition, admire each other and celebrate talent. 

If the next 100 years of musical theatre is filled with performances like the ones this night provided then it will be truly wonderful!

Photo credit: Danny Kaan

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Come From Away, Abbey Theatre, Dublin | Review


Come From Away (European Premiere) 
Abbey Theatre, Dublin 
Reviewed on Wed 19 December 2018 by Damien Murray
★★★★

As a former refuelling stop for trans-Atlantic flights, the remote town of Gander in Newfoundland was once well used to having many visitors on board passing planes. 

In 2001, due to its position and facilities, it unexpectedly found itself playing host to 38 international flights filled with 7,000 passengers of many nationalities during the horrific attacks of 9/11 on the North-Eastern region of the United States. 

This is not a show about those atrocities, but rather a true story of generosity, gratitude and ultimate hope performed as a theatrical documentation of the unfolding events at Gander as a result of the attacks and the efforts of a small island population to help their fellow man in exceptional and demanding circumstances. 

Ahead of its transfer to London at the end of January, it is, perhaps, appropriate that the European premiere of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s relatively new, but highly-acclaimed, award-winning musical, is being staged in Dublin as Newfoundland owes much of its music, language and culture to Ireland. 


This fact is reflected in the show’s accents, humour and music, with a distinctly ‘celtic’ approach to the score, instrumentation and underscoring in this Abbey Theatre co-production with Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. 

Playing a multitude of roles with a quick-fire change of accent, hat, shirt or jacket to convey each character, the hard-working and 12-strong cast - Jenna Boyd, Nathanael Campbell, Clive Carter, Mary Doherty, Robert Hands, Helen Hobson, Jonathan Andrew Hume, Harry Morrison, Emma Salvo, David Shannon, Cat Simmons and, returning to the city where she made her professional debut, Ireland’s own West End and Broadway star, Rachel Tucker - prove the perfect team for this exceptional ensemble piece. 

Indeed, the captivating cast takes ensemble performance to a whole new and higher level in this factual, intense and heart-warming drama. 

Performances here are of such a uniformly impressive standard, it is almost impossible to single anyone out for special praise, but it must be said that, with her commanding stage presence, quality vocals and passionate performance, it is no accident that one of Rachel Tucker’s main characters is, appropriately, that of the Captain. 


By necessity, the casting is diverse to reflect the wide cross section of some of those who were caught up in the Gander situation with people of various shapes, colours and creeds being represented; each with their own story and circumstances and each dealing with the situation in their own way. 

With Beowulf Boritt’s simple, sparse and static (apart from a stage revolve, which, thankfully, is not overused) set representing the remoteness of the forested island being cleverly lit by Howell Binkley’s mood-inspiring lighting, this production is greatly helped by Christopher Ashley’s no thrills direction and Tara Overfield-Wilkinson’s relentless choreography and movement to advance the evolving story in its 100-minute performance time, without ever losing the attention of its audience. 

Because of the nature of its unfolding story, this unconventional musical benefits greatly by the absence on an interval to ensure no loss of momentum or continuity. 

The show is also unusual in terms of the musical score, which mixes Celtic with folk and rock with the addition of a few ballads and, with tongue firmly in cheek, gives a musical nod to Titanic to add humour to the piece. 

Apart from when they take centre stage for a bit of an international hoe-down during Screech In (highlighting the importance of music as an international language), the eight accomplished musicians, under Alan Berry’s musical direction, are discretely positioned at the side of the stage. 


Musical highlights are dominated by the ensemble’s excellent choral work throughout, particularly in songs like Darkness And Trees, while the beautiful rendition of Prayer reinforces the commonality of music in religion. 

Other highlights include Rachel Tucker’s moving showcase song, Me And The Sky, and the tender love song, Stop The World. 

In the midst of mixed emotions, fear, confusion, panic, terror and tragedy, we find that camaraderie, friendship, tolerance, respect and humour are universal and all shine through in this story of interaction between strangers when they are thrown together in the most unusual of circumstances and when relationships survive and grow with random acts of kindness. 

Human resourcefulness becomes second nature as all rally round to provide such practical essentials as food, clothing, accommodation, language interpreters, counselling, medical and spiritual care, money and special care needed for babies and animals that were on any of the grounded flights. 

In addition to the positive feelings when they are all pulling together as one, a painful feeling of loneliness and emptiness descends on everyone immediately after they eventually leave to go home similar to that experienced at the end of an Irish wake. 

This story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in a time of need is truly inspirational and this intense, gripping, emotional and heart-warming production perfectly captures the generosity of the human spirit and the hope that has been born out of tragedy to create an oasis of harmony in a world of confusion. 

Come From Away runs at the Abbey Theatre until Sat 19th January 2019 

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy 

Thursday, 12 April 2018

An Evening With Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium | Review


An Evening With Jason Robert Brown
London Palladium 
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th April 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★


Last night the London Palladium played host to one of the most brilliant concerts I have ever witnessed. American composer, pianist and conductor Jason Robert Brown debuted some of his new songs as well as hits from his various musicals and orchestral works. He was joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra (plus his own rhythm section), conductor Larry Blank, Capital Voices and musical theatre superstars Rachel Tucker, Betsy Wolfe and Norm Lewis in this one night only musical spectacular. Concerts of this caliber are so often confined to the New York scene so to get something like this live in London was truly magical and is not a night I'll forget in a hurry. 


Jason opened the show with an emotive song about finding hope in a hopeless situation which he revealed was written the day after the last presidential election. He followed this with a song from a musical he has yet to complete, which tells the story of a teen in New York who dreams of having a career as a musician. The upbeat, rhythmical song, Melinda had the audience tapping their feet and ready for the concert ahead of them. This song with various musical dance genres entwined in it was the perfect song to show off Jason's musicianship and vocals as well as the clear dexterity of the BBC Concert Orchestra players. The two songs in succession set the tone for what was set to be a joyous as well as moving night. 


The entire concert was of an immense standard and it would be unfair to pick a particular stand out but over the course of just over two and a half hours, we were treated to some of the gems of Jason Robert Brown's career, as well as a glimpse of what's to come with his new album, How We React and How We Recover. Similarly to last year's Kristin Chenoweth concert, this performance made the vast space of the London Palladium feel intimate and warm and proved that whilst donning various hats as singer, conductor and pianist, at the heart of it all Jason is a storyteller. In my recent interview with him, Jason told me that he loves when you can "go on an adventure with a piece of music" which truly sums up what this night was about.

Rachel Tucker who Jason called "the real thing" gave a glorious rendition of Stars and the Moon from Songs For a New World, which Jason described as "a medley of my greatest... hit!" Her rendition of the anthem, Invisible, written by Jason for a young wheelchair bound girl in collaboration with the Ronald McDonald House and Broadway Inspirational Voices was especially moving and energetic. Rachel also brought the house to their feet with her final performance of Flying Home, which although usually sung by a male voice, sounded as though it was written for Ms Tucker.


Norm Lewis performed gorgeous, mellow renditions of It All Fades Away and All Things in Time as well as joining Betsy Wolfe for a beautiful duet of Before and After You/One Second and a Million Miles which proved that the West End needs a production of The Bridges of Madison County, pronto! I know I said I didn't want to name stand-outs but Betsy's act 2 performance of I Can Do Better Than That from The Last Five Years was truly marvellous and proved why she's as adored as she is.

In addition to these songs we also got to experience a whole selection of songs from Honeymoon in Vegas which I saw in it's concert form at the Palladium last year, as well as some beautiful excerpts from Jason's symphony, The Trumpet of the Swan. Not only did this instrumental moment show of the virtuosic playing of the orchestra but showed just how emotive music is. Before beginning, Jason briefly explained the plot of the symphony which is based on a children's book, so we knew what was coming. What I found incredible was how everyone laughed and gasped at the same times despite there being no lyrics to describe the drama. This just proved how powerful music is as an art form and was an especially magical moment for me.


I have to briefly mention the lighting for this concert which was outstanding. For a one night only event which is going out to radio, not television, I was blown away by how much thought and time had clearly gone into every lighting cue. This really added to the warm feeling of the entire night.

At the risk of babbling on for an obscene amount of time, I'm going to wrap up my review here. I'm sorry to say that if you weren't there you missed out of a truly fantastic night but don't worry because you can hear the whole things on this week's Friday Night is Music Night and experience the joy of Jason Robert Brown's music for yourself. I was enchanted, surprised and blown away by every moment of this gem of a concert.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Rachel Tucker on Starring in The Pirate Queen | Interview

Based on the real-life story of history’s Grace O’Malley – an Irish Chieftain and notorious pirate, The Pirate Queen is an adventure chronicling the compelling, inspiring heroine who led an extraordinary life as a rogue, lover and mother in 16th-century Ireland. 

From the writers of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, the show combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both historic romance and a timeless epic.

Rachel Tucker is taking on the role of Grace O'Malley in the one night only London premiere of the musical. Rachel told us all about the show, her favourite moments and what it's like to bring real life characters to life on stage...


Tell us about The Pirate Queen, what can we expect?
The Pirate Queen is a very old, true Irish story about how the daughter of the O’Mally clan became the first woman Queen of in Ireland in 16th century. She was known for her fearlessness not just as a woman but as a leader and was known for her ruthlessness in political negotiations with Queen Elizabeth I and trying to get her peoples land back no matter what it took.

Today in rehearsals I sang two very powerful duets with Hannah Waddingham who plays Queen Elizabeth and we were both struck at how amazing it is that these two women back in the 1500s were the leaders of each of their own lands and negotiated with each other not just as chieftain & queen but woman to woman. 

Their dialogue together is fascinating, the lyrics are so graceful yet explosive! It’s been a long time since I’ve listened and sang through an known score with so much excitement! 


You're currently playing Beverley Bass and are now taking on Grace O'Malley for one night only. What's it like bringing real life people to life on stage? 
Well as a job, it’s blooming great! I love bringing my own take and as much as Rachel to each role. I am constantly looking to bring only truth to every line and character I get to play, whether it be a comedic, tragic or heroic role. What ever the room, I love to tell the truth. 


What's your current favourite moment of the show?
Can I say all of it?! Well today has been a first day rehearsals so my favourite moment of the day was hearing Queen Elizabeth sung like only Hannah could sing it! Just jaw dropping! 


Why should people come and see The Pirate Queen?
I think this is a piece of musical theatre that should be seen and heard in this day and age. It almost feels more relevant now than it was when it first was first conceived. 

You do not want to miss hearing the stunning choral ensemble of around 40 members and the orchestrations by Julian Kelly are going to transcend you to another level! The event of 2020 if you ask me!!! 


The Pirate Queen plays at the London Coliseum on 23 February, 7pm

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | UK Tour | Interview

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.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Saturday, 7 April 2018

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | An Evening with Jason Robert Brown | Interview


If you google 'busy people' Rachel Tucker will surely come up. Always working on something new and exciting, Rachel is one of the hottest things both in London and New York. Set to star in the one night only An Evening with Jason Robert Brown concert at the Palladium, Rachel sat down to discuss everything about the concert and gave us an exclusive on what's next for her across the pond!


What’s the rehearsal process been like for this concert?
I haven't actually started yet! I've been rehearsing on my own but we do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then the show Wednesday night cause Jason's coming over. We have the scheduling and it's like 10-5.30 so it's gonna be... intense. We have a piano rehearsal with Jason on our own and then all together and there's back-up vocalists and singers and stuff, so, it's gonna be very intense. I'm really excited!


You’ve performed some of Jason’s songs before, can we expect to hear those or new ones in the concert?
Actually a bit of both. I have, what is called my 'handbag song' which I love and it's Stars and Moon that I sing at any given opportunity. It's my favourite classic Jason Robert Brown and... I don't know if I should say what else I'm singing or if it should be a surprise?!

How about a clue?
Okay well there's another old one and two more modern ones...

Very vague!
Okay so one is a really new, updated one that he wrote for a girl in a wheelchair, actually, a 13 year old girl. He wrote it very specifically so I'm really buzzed about that and singing some really lovely, brilliant songs.


Who or which song are you most excited for the audience to hear?
I'm a massive fan of Betsy Wolfe and Norm [Lewis]. I sang with Norm in New York on the Pulse charity single we did over there with Seth Rudetsky. Norm is just fabulous, and Betsy, I just can't wait to hear her sing live and to sing on the same stage as her!

Just to hear it all put together and to hear the best of Jason's work. He's chosen what he wants us to sing so we've had no say in it, he's chosen specifically what he wants to hear... I mean we've a little bit of a choice but it's very much his show and his showcase and that's what's so special about it; to be able to actually do what it is that he would love to be showcased.


If you could be in any Jason Robert Brown musical, which would you choose?
Goodness me! I would love to play the wife in Parade who sings You Don't Know This Man which is a fab song. What else? I love The Last Five Years- there's so many and they're all so good. I'd love to do Bridges of Madison County cause it's so beautiful. He's just so talented and his music stretches so far and into different genres and I love how much he pushes the musicians and the singers at the same time, it's really wonderful.


Why should people come to this concert?
I mean I just cannot wait to hear his stuff played with a 60-piece orchestra- the BBC Orchestra- that for me is just going to be so exciting. I've always been a huge fan ever since I first heard his music and I think the selection of stuff you'll hear with this orchestra and Jason playing -and I'm sure introducing songs and saying how and where they came about- it's going to be electric! It's gonna be like nothing anyone's every seen before, or heard before and it's live, live in London! Come from far and wide and get tickets cause it's gonna be one in a million!

While we’re talking I thought you'd like to plug your upcoming NY concerts?! 
Yeah! So 54 Below, I'm very, very excited to go back in August, in summer so maybe more people can get out and over. I mean I haven't even started thinking about the show but I wanna do a real mixture of my favourites and some new stuff. I've had a lot of experience this last 4/5 months with new music and being sent stuff and learning stuff for auditions that I've just fallen in love with. All this new stuff that I would never have heard; so I'd really love to show that. Yeah I feel very excited about new stuff that has landed on my lap so I'm really excited to put a show together of it!


Sounds very exciting! Will you be coming back or are you planning on staying over there?
I don't know! I've been auditioning like crazy there and here and nothings solid yet so I don't know!? There's a big question around that!

I am doing the Williamstown Festival which is in New York over the summer, so, this is an exclusive!... It's a brand new musical that's happening now called Lempicka! I don't know if you know it?

That's amazing! Yeah it has the song Woman Is in it right? [side note: go listen to Woman Is because it's stunning!]

Yes, a beautiful song! So I'm doing the production of it, playing one of the parts with Carmen Cusack. I don't know who else is involved but it's a brand new piece and I'm really excited. So that's July/August at the Williamstown Festival that I'll be doing that! Then my gigs at 54 Below so a summer in New York!

The dream! Will Woman Is be one of your songs then?
Yeah it will be actually! The stuff from the show is just amazing. I'm really really chuffed to be on it and the creative team is great. The lady who directed The Great Comet, Rachel Chavkin is directing it so the creative team is amazing and it's nice to be involved in something new, so come and watch!


How exciting is all of that!? A huge thank you to Rachel for chatting with me, be sure to book your tickets for An Evening with Jason Robert Brown on Wednesday 11th April

Interview by editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Danny Kaan


Monday, 3 August 2020

A Stagey Guide to Singing... Rachel Tucker | Interview

Hello stagey people! Light seems to be shining at the end of the tunnel but there's still a distinct lack of theatre in our lives; so I thought today I would bring you a mini Q&A from the Rewrite This Story vaults. A while back I chatted to Rachel Tucker and asked her a few vocal technique related questions...


What are your go to warm ups?

I have a great warm up that a friend from New York introduced to me. A slow long warm up that slowly builds and is quite a classical warm up and it gets my break from my chest voice to head voice really smoothed out and warm.


You are the Queen of belting, do you have any tips? Do you change vowel shapes or anything like that?
It shouldn't really be the vowels you change it's the back of the throat. You can still sing the same vowel bright and belted with just some adjustment of the throat. It depends but I wouldn't really because it's nothing to do with the vowel shape, you should be able to belt any vowel or consonant. It's about the shape at the back of your throat. Space, space, space!


What are your tips for keeping your body and voice healthy?
Oh definitely to consume more water than you think is physically possible. Don't underestimate how much talking tires your voice, if you have a big sing just go on vocal rest, text friends and write things down. 

And steaming after a big sing for sure- about 45 minutes with a facial steamer with a mouth piece and it'll bring down any swelling in your throat down, it should be for 30 minutes... at least!


Thanks so much to Rachel for answering these questions way back when! Stay safe and stay stagey!

-Olivia
Editor of Rewrite This Story


Monday, 24 February 2020

The Pirate Queen, London Coliseum | Review


The Pirate Queen (Concert)
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Hope Priddle
★★★★

The Pirate Queen sailed into the London Coliseum for a one off charity concert in aid of Leukaemia UK. Set in 16th Century Ireland, Boublil and Schönberg's musical tells the real life story of fearless mariner Grace O’Malley as she embarks upon a heroic struggle to defend her homeland from English rule. A tale of politics and passion, The Pirate Queen is an inspiring story of one woman’s efforts to determine her own destiny in a world run by men.

Rachel Tucker shines in the titular role. Tucker is feisty and fearless, perfectly capturing O’Malley’s youthful optimism in the opening scenes of Act 1. Her voice soars across the auditorium as she performs Woman. Likewise, Tucker beautifully explores O’Malley’s tender side as a mother, daughter and lover. The intimate duets she shares with Jai McDowall as sweetheart Tiernan and Father Dubhdara, played powerfully by Earl Carpenter, are highly moving.

Hannah Waddingham had a hard task playing Queen Elizabeth I, an imperious foil to Tucker’s spirited O’Malley. However, she undoubtedly excelled in this role. Waddingham was poised and dignified, commanding every scene with her impressive operatic prowess.

Daniel Boys provided excellent comedic relief as the unfoundedly arrogant and hapless Lord Bingham, one of two antagonists alongside Grace’s husband and eventual betrayer Donal, played by the terrific Matt Pagan.

It is however, Jai McDowall as Tiernan who steals the show with his rendition of I’ll Be There. He is endearing and charismatic as O’Malley’s sweetheart who proves his unconditional love for his Pirate Queen on more than one occasion.


The ensemble and choir are vocally assured and provide some beautiful harmonies. They are best showcased in a rousing rendition of Sail to the Stars which brings the first act to a swelling crescendo.

Special plaudits must also go to choreographer Jack Ludwig, who’s sharp and spritely Irish dance numbers inject the piece with joyful energy.

Technical elements work together to elevate this semi-staged production, despite a few niggles with mics early on. Lighting and visuals by Ben Rogers are simple yet effective. Painterly illustrations depicting the Irish Coast and English Royal Court provide a pleasing backdrop, while the use of coloured lighting seamlessly signals a shift between land and sea. A single purple spotlight shone upon Elizabeth and Grace as they converse in Act 2 was an especially nice touch; this royal hue indicated a meeting of two equals, both noble in character if not in title.

Fran Levin’s costumes are timely and sympathetic, yet mostly modest. Hannah Waddingham is an exception here; she looks suitably regal in Elizabeth’s embellished gown towering over O Malley’s boyish and diminutive frame.

Though the performances are indeed outstanding, the score so often borrows melodies from Les Misérables and Miss Saigon that it becomes somewhat predictable. Boys’ll be Boys is a fun but ultimately trifling homage to Master of the House. In short, unashamedly familiar tunes followed by unfamiliar lyrics resulted in an effect which was at times jarring.

While audiences may find this musical too repetitive to work as a fully realised production, The Pirate Queen provided an evening of outstanding vocal talent and swashbuckling storytelling.

photo credit: Earl Carpenter

Monday, 4 December 2017

Velma Celli's West End Christmas, Leicester Square | Review


Velma Celli's West End Christmas (Concert) 
Christmas in Leicester Square
Reviewed on Sunday 3rd December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Yesterday evening I hot-footed it from the Charing Cross theatre seeing Marisha Wallace's Soul Holiday concert, to the Spiegeltent in Leicester Square to see Velma Celli in concert and it was so worth the dash. 

Velma Celli is the alter ego of West End performer, Ian Stroughair who's credits include Rent, Chicago and Cats; she is a fiery, shocking diva with the voice that dreams are made of! The first song set the tone for the concert with Velma entering from the back of the venue with a swooping, full of key changes version of 'Walking in the Air'. From then on it was joke after joke and belter after belter and was honestly one of the best and most entertaining concerts I've been to.

This alternative festive takeover was full of Christmas hit after Christmas hit and would have made even the coldest person feel festive. A personal highlight (although there were many) was Velma's rendition of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' which was heartfelt and a lovely moment.

The cabaret also featured two of the West End's finest: Liam Tamne and Rachel Tucker (who I'd already seen at Marisha's concert!) who gave some fantastic performances. Rachel and Velma's duet of 'Fairtytale of New York' was absolutely hilarious and reminded me of many drunken Christmas nights! Liam showed off his smooth voice and crystal clear riffs in 'Last Christmas' whilst Rachel gave a moving performance of Joni Mitchell's, 'River'.

Overall this was just a fantastic night; Velma Celli is a born performer with a voice and personality that instantly draws the audience in and keeps them until the very last moment. If you want a hilarious night full of incredible talent then get yourself along to any of Velma Celli's future shows and be sure to download her recently released, self titled album.