Interview: Rachel John, August in The Secret Life Of Bees & original Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton

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Olivier nominee Rachel John is In The Frame for an extra special episode! 

Rachel is currently starring as August in the UK premiere of The Secret Life of Bees at the Almedia Theatre. Adapted from Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, the musical has a book by Lynn Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. 

Taking us back to the civil rights era of the American South, The Secret Life Of Bees follows an unlikely pair who flee their small town and seek salvation at a remote honey bee farm run by the remarkable Boatwright sisters. 


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Rachel made her professional debut in The Legend of the Lion King at Disnleyland Paris and went on to join the West End productions of The Lion King and Sister Act. 

After understudying Meat and Killer Queen on the first UK & Ireland tour of We Will Rock You, Rachel transferred to the West End production as Meat, becoming the first black actor to play the role. 

Rachel went on to play Mimi in Rent (UK Tour) and after a run as the alternate Felicia in the original West End cast of Memphis, she took over the role from Beverley Knight. Next up, Rachel played Nicki and covered Rachel in The Bodyguard (UK & Ireland Tour / West End / Toronto). 

In 2017, Rachel was cast as the original Angelica Schuyler in the West End premiere of Hamilton, receiving an Olivier nomination and tremendous acclaim for her performance. 

Most recently, Rachel played Mrs Neilsen in Girl From The North Country (West End / Toronto), The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol (Old Vic) and Songs for a New World (London Palladium). Last year Rachel released her debut solo album, From My Lips To Gods Ear. 

In this episode, Rachel delves into The Secret Life of Bee, reflects on why We Will Rock You was a massive turning point in her career and explains her unique path into theatre via the corperate world. 

Make a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and strap yourself in! 

The Secret Life of Bees runs at the Almedia Theatre until 27th May 2023. Visit for info and tickets. 

Hosted by Andrew Tomlins  

Thanks for listening! 

Visit for more info about our podcasts.  

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