The combined power of television talent shows and YouTube can be incredible. Rachel Wooding is a good example as she had already appeared in television series and in West End productions, yet she barely registered as a public personality – none of the judges recognised her. Her appearance on BGT introduced her to a massive live television audience.
Rachel’s BGT 2016 audition has had an impressive afterlife on YouTube. Her performance of With You from Ghost the Musical has at least 75M views, between the BGT post and curated channels. Just 12 days ago, Wilton Damásio commented on how well Rachel sings. Here is Rachel’s exhilarating BGT audition, which brought judge Amanda Holden to tears.
Alesha Dixon commented that Rachel Wooding’s singing took the audience to a place where they all felt something. Amanda said she was made to feel very vulnerable and was moved by Rachel’s wonderful performance. Simon said it was the most beautiful version of With You he had ever heard. Obviously, Rachel received four votes to go through to the next round. Rachel made it to the semi-finals where she was eliminated after singing Sarah Bareilles’ Gravity, a song that Simon said was too pop for her.
Rachel auditioned for BGT when she was taking an enforced break from appearing in musicals. She married in 2014 and fell pregnant on her honeymoon. When she appeared on BGT 2016 she was a full-time mother of an eleven-month-old daughter. After BGT, Rachel looked for shorter contracts and one-off concerts as she sought to combine being a mother with the need to earn. For a time it worked, but Rachel Wooding’s reputation preceded her. Here is Rachel singing Queen’s Someone to Love in April 2021.
The above video was recorded in the empty Doncaster Keepmoat Stadium as an advertisement – “a siren call” – for a four-day series of events at Keepmoat outdoor Amphitheatre in August 2021. Rachel Wooding is well versed in singing Queen songs as she appeared as Meat and Scaramouche in We Will Rock You on London’s West End before her marriage.
Rachel Wooding is a mezzo-soprano born in Yorkshire. She studied at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts. Her professional appearances in musicals took off in Germany (Cats and Starlight Express). Back in England, she featured in Saturday Night Fever and Fame on the West End, before playing Amber in Hairspray. In 2008 she took the lead role in the UK tour of Evita The Musical. In March 2011 she joined the cast of Jersey Boys and in October 2012 she started starring in We Will Rock You.
After BGT 2016, Rachel appeared in the TV series Girlfriends (2018 as Desk Air Steward). Another notable role was Alice in the UK tour of Alice in Wonderland.
As Rachel told Broadway World in a 2020 interview, “I hadn’t given up, but I have got a child. I’d been doing shorter contracts and a lot of concert work to try and fit in with being a mum. I wasn’t really auditioning for things.” This changed when Jerry Mitchell, the director of Pretty Woman, was unsatisfied after the auditions for the role of Kit de Luca. Mitchell thought of Rachel Wooding, and invited her to audition. “I felt comfortable enough once we came to negotiating that I could have the time I needed. All of the holidays booked out in advance – because it is a logistical nightmare having kids. So it worked. It’s been really positive experience.”
The acclaimed run of Pretty Woman was interrupted for 16 months by the pandemic. It resumed in the summer of 2022 and the run was extended into 2023. Rachel is currently playing Rose in Standing at the Sky’s Edge.
On 9 May 2022, Rachel Wooding appeared in West End for Ukraine; one of many times she has sung at special event concerts. She is the lead singer in The Lonesome Frets, a band she started with fellow West End actor George Maguire. If you would like to see more from Rachel Wooding, you can subscribe to their Instagram.