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Wicked news for Rachel Tucker as she's back on Broadway to reprise UK role as a witch

By Claire McNeilly

Published 20/08/2015

Rachel Tucker as Elphaba in Wicked
Rachel Tucker as Elphaba in Wicked
Rachel Tucker on the red carpet
Rachel with Sting

Rachel Tucker's dream of returning to Broadway is to become a reality.

The Belfast actress and singer will star as Elphaba in Wicked at the Gerschwin Theatre when the show begins on September 15.

It's a reprisal of the role she played for almost three years in the West End production of the musical, putting in some 1,000 performances between 2010 and 2012.

The 33-year-old, who took to social media yesterday to confirm the news, tweeted: "Totally delighted and thrilled that it's now official! Thank u all for ur beautiful tweets of delight and support! Broadway here we come!"

The move follows the failure of her debut project on Broadway, which closed three months after its launch. The Last Ship, inspired by Sting's upbringing in the Tyne and Wear maritime industry, sank in January after poor reviews and slow ticket sales.

But Rachel's performance as Meg Dawson, a woman caught up in a torrid love triangle, saw her heralded as one of the top 10 New York stage performers of 2014.

NBC even went as far as describing the Ulster girl as one of the most exciting West End-to-Broadway transfers in years.

"The creative team behind The Last Ship clearly thought it was going to run," she said.

"They obviously thought it was going to be successful and be a massive revenue hit; I mean, we all did."

The much-hyped musical's premature demise prompted Rachel's decision to return to the UK, where she headed up the cast of the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comic thriller Communicating Doors.

Her role - as a dominatrix called Poopay -demanded that she ditch her Belfast brogue in favour of a Cockney accent.

Rachel, who found fame in the 2008 BBC talent show I'd Do Anything, said playing Poopay was one of the hardest jobs she's had to date.

"This has been a big stretch for me," she said. "I've never had to learn so many words and in such an intense short period, and with a Cockney accent on top. That's something I've never done before and I've loved it; It's important to keep me on my toes."

Nevertheless, Rachel also told US entertainment website that she was "thrilled" to be chosen for the role of a prostitute in the production, which prolific English playwright Ayckbourn wrote back in 1994.

"It took me by surprise, I have to say, but my husband Guy Retallack has done a couple of Ayckbourn plays and I love his work," she said.

Wicked is based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire and is set in the land of Oz.

It tells the story of young girls Glinda and Elphaba, who grow up to become respectively Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.

From a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

The production is directed by Joe Mantello with musical staging by Wayne Cilento.

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