Review: Outlaw country star gets the respect she deserves in ‘The Return of Tanya Tucker’
Bethany Clarke and Tanya Tucker are one in the same. After the successful Broadway run, and a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress, Tanya Tucker is poised to take on a bigger role in the Outlaw country musical “The Return of Tanya Tucker.”
Based on the book “The Return of Tanya Tucker: The True Story of a Woman Who Changed America,” in her first big role Tanya Tucker will play Bethany Clarke, a single mother in an impoverished Appalachian community, during the tumultuous 1970s.
“The Return of Tanya Tucker” opens April 20 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
During our interview, I asked Bethany Clarke if “The Return of Tanya Tucker” sounds like something she’d perform.
“Of course,” she replied. “I am Bethany Clarke, and we are in the world of Tanya Tucker – she was the first person I spoke to when I began performing, when I opened up in my first church service. I remember meeting her and saying, ‘I’ve got a part for you.’ I was very inspired when she first came on. I had been thinking for years about a part for me. After I started performing, I got offers from many different people, but I knew I wanted to do this and I knew how much I wanted to do it and how much I wanted it – so I made it happen and I’m glad I did.”
Tanya Tucker: ‘A tough act to follow’
Tanya Tucker has been playing the part of the mother figure in Bethany Clarke’s life for more than 30 years.
“I have played her on stages since I was 13,” she says proudly. “I started doing musical theater with my mother when I was a child and my parents took me on and really encouraged me. When I really hit the road, I thought, ‘How could I go to a theater with an adult and ask them for a job? How can I pay?’ It was that kind of thing that inspired me to do this, that I thought, ‘I’m going to make this happen.’ It’s a hard act to follow.”
From the very beginning, Tanya Tucker had a gift for creating powerful performances.
“Tanya and God created me for this and my acting is