Belfast Telegraph

Rachel Tucker's acclaimed performance not enough as Sting's New York show The Last Ship sinks

By Sherna Noah

A Broadway musical by Sting starring a Northern Irish singing sensation is set to close just three months after opening.

Just before Christmas, Belfast actress and singer Rachel Tucker was named as one of the top 10 performers on the New York stage in 2014 for her role in Sting's The Last Ship.

The 33-year-old mother-of-one plays Meg Dawson, a woman caught up in a torrid love triangle set against the backdrop of the Tyne and Wear shipbuilding industry inspired by Sting's own upbringing.

Her spirited performance in the production, which premiered in Chicago before opening in the Paul Simon Theatre in New York, has been praised for the emotional intensity she brings, as well as her stunning vocals.

Described as "one of the most exciting" West End-to-Broadway transfers in years, NBC said: "As Meg, the spitfire mom at the centre of a complicated love triangle, Tucker does the nearly impossible: turn a male-dominated show into a female story."

But her performance has not been enough to save the troubled musical. The Last Ship opened in late October to mixed reviews and has struggled at the box office.

Sting, who composed the songs, took on a starring role as a shipyard foreman, replacing leading man Jimmy Nail in December in an attempt to boost sales.

But producers have now tweeted that the musical, written by John Logan and Brian Yorkey, will end on January 24 when Sting finishes his run in the show. The former Police frontman previously said of the show: "This was never going to be easy. I didn't anticipate a shoo-in at all. I expected a battle."

Background

Rachel Tucker was introduced to the entertainment world by her musician father, singing around the clubs of Belfast as a youth. She found fame when she competed for the role of Nancy in the musical Oliver in the BBC talent search programme I'd Do Anything in 2008.

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