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Belfast Broadway star Rachel Tucker scoops theatre gong

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Rachel Tucker  (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Rachel Tucker (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Rachel Tucker (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Belfast stage star Rachel Tucker has scooped a gong at the WhatsOnStage Awards for her performance in a musical set in the days following the September 11 attacks.

Tucker, best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked, won Best Supporting Actress In A Musical for her West End role in Come From Away.

The 38-year-old plays Beverley Bass, an American aircraft pilot and the first female captain of an American Airlines commercial plane.

Come From Away is set in the week after the September 11 attacks and tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

The play also won Best New Musical at the awards in London on Sunday night.

Tucker, who has now joined the Broadway cast, said she was "delighted" to have won in a pre-recorded video speech.

"Thank you so much. I can't believe it," she gushed.

"I am delighted to be given this award. Sorry I cannot be there in person to pick it up myself. I hope you have a fantastic evening.

"Thanks to everyone who voted for Come From Away and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. I appreciate every vote. Lots of love from over here in New York."

The actress's theatre director husband Guy Retallack picked up the award on her behalf.

The awards are voted for by the theatregoers.

The night’s big winner was & Juliet with six awards, receiving Best Actress In A Musical for Miriam-Teak Lee, as well as gongs for set design and costume.

Claire Foy, famous for playing the Queen in The Crown, won Best Actress In A Play for her role in Lungs.

Her co-star, Matt Smith, who played the Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown, was also up for an award for his performance in Lungs at The Old Vic.

Foy and Smith reunited to play a couple once again in Lungs.

But Smith walked away empty-handed after Dublin's Andrew Scott triumphed in the Best Actor In A Play category.

Fleabag and Sherlock star Scott won for his role in Present Laughter at The Old Vic.

The BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical went to the smash-hit Six The Musical.

Jamie Lloyd received the Best Direction gong for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Best Play Revival for his production of Betrayal.

WhatsOnStage’s chief operating officer Sita McIntosh said: “In our 20th year, we’d… like to say a particular thank you to the audiences who are the lifeblood of our awards, voting in their tens of thousands.

“Their support and championing of shows is what keeps our industry alive.

“It’s galvanising to see that a play that has never been staged in London has picked up the Best New Play Award, showing how the WhatsOnStage Awards really are decided by audiences across the nation.”

The 20th WhatsOnStage Awards, hosted by Jodie Prenger and Tom Read Wilson, took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre and the event was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.

Belfast Telegraph