Elaine Paige with her Radio 2 producer Malcolm Prince.
ELAINE PAIGE, actress, singer, producer, has made such a major contribution to the stage musical that her title as undisputed First Lady of British Musical Theatre remains unchallenged.
Elaine’s West End debut, ‘Hair’ (Shaftesbury Theatre), was followed by ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (Palace Theatre), ‘Grease’ (New London Theatre) and ‘Billy’ with Michael Crawford (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) before being chosen by producer Hal Prince to create the role of the Eva Peron in ‘Evita’ (1978), the ground breaking Lloyd Webber/Rice musical that was to break box office records and garner numerous awards. Elaine’s roof raising performance as the iconic Eva won her the Society of West End Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical and the Variety Club Award for Showbusiness Personality of the Year and set a spectacular new standard for the future of musical theatre performance.
The opening of ‘Cats’ in 1981 led to Elaine’s rendition of the classic song ‘Memory’ becoming one of her many hit records. (In 1998 she reprised her role of Grizabella for the TV film and video, which went straight to the top of the video charts).
In 1983 Elaine starred in ‘Abbacadabra’ written by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson she sang their work on stage again in 1986 in the Ulvaeus/Andersson/Rice musical, ‘Chess’ for which she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actress in a Musical. The duet, ‘I Know Him So Well’, sung with Barbara Dickson, was No. 1 in the British charts for four weeks, and remains the biggest selling record by a female duo in the Guinness Book of Records.
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