Elaine Paige, as an actress, recording artist, producer and broadcaster, has made a major contribution to the modern musical that ensures her own chapter in the entertainment world and justifies the title “The First Lady of Musical Theatre”.
She has starred in numerous West End productions and on Broadway and in concert internationally, sweeping to fame when she created her award winning performance as Eva Peron in Evita. Shortly afterwards she created the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats and the classic song Memory became one of Elaine’s many hit records.
Further theatre productions: Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Billy, Chess (with her record breaking number one hit I Know Him So Well with Barbara Dickson), Anything Goes, Piaf, Sunset Boulevard in London and Broadway, The King and I, Sweeney Todd (New York City Opera). She has worked twice with Sir Peter Hall’s Theatre Company in The Misanthrope and Feydeau’s Where There’s A Will.
Elaine has performed in concert worldwide from The White House to The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, from the Bolshoi to Sydney Opera House. She has appeared in many television roles including her own TV specials and Royal Variety Shows. She has recorded 18 solo albums (4 multi Platinum and 9 consecutive Gold) and 7 cast albums and has been honoured with a number of awards: Society of West End Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical and Variety Club Award for Show Business Personality of the year (1978); Variety Club Award for Musical Artiste (1986) and Variety Club Award for Best Actress (1995); Gold Badge of Merit from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (1994); HMV Lifetime Achievement Award (1996); Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (1999); Order of the British Empire for services to Musical Theatre (1995), Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (2004) and Variety Club Special Presentation for 40 Years on Stage (2009).
This year marks the 8th anniversary of the hugely successful weekly BBC Radio 2 show Elaine Paige on Sunday. The programme, devoted to musical theatre and film music, continues to delight audiences of over 2 million listeners each week with its mix of music and interviews.
Recent television work has included Elaine appearing as herself in the BBC hit comedy programme Beautiful People; the role of Dora Bunner in Agatha Christie’s Ms Marple story A Murder is Announced for Granada/WGBH, and a guest star role in Where The Heart Is for Granada Television. In 2005 she completed her triumphant concert tour of Australia, New Zealand and the Far East and in 2006 she released her new album of songs from the stage entitled Essential Musicals followed by a sell-out concert tour of Scandinavia, and the UK prior to taking her new show to China and in March 2007 she performed in concert at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Elaine returned to the West End stage in 2007 to critical acclaim in the title role of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Novello Theatre, London for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance in What’s On Stage Awards, London. As well as performing in Europe and in the USA in concert Elaine recorded a track with Secret Garden, The Things You Are You To Me for their number one quadruple-platinum selling album.
September 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of Elaine’s West End debut and was celebrated with a book entitled Memories and a sell out international celebratory concert tour across the world including Scandinavia, China, the UK and Ireland (which resulted in a live CD release Elaine Paige Live – Celebrating A Life On Stage), and continued in October of 2009 across Australia & New Zealand where the Sydney concert was filmed for DVD release in March 2010 entitled Elaine Paige Celebrating 40 Years On Stage.
On her return to the UK Elaine sang I Know Him So Well with Susan Boyle on her TV special I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story. Elaine also performed at the 2010 Cheltenham Jazz Festival showcasing a brand new jazz set to an enthralled audience.
November 2010 saw the release of Elaine’s brand new studio album, Elaine Paige & Friends. Recorded in New York and produced by legendary record producer Phil Ramone for Rhino/Warner Bros Records. It features duets with 14 of her favourite musical performers, including (in alphabetical order): Paul Anka, John Barrowman, Michael Bolton, Kenny G, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Idina Menzel, Olivia Newton-John, Billy Ocean, Sinead O’Connor, LeAnn Rimes, Jon Secada, Neil Sedaka and Dionne Warwick. The album entered the Top 20 in the UK and Elaine was awarded a gold disc for sales over 100,000 by the end of the year.Elaine return to the concert stage in February 2011 with a new show, which featured a selection of her favourite standards, her greatest hits and some of the modern classics from her new album. After the tour Elaine flew to the US to star as Carlotta Campion in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, receiving critical acclaim from reviewers and audiences alike.Following an intimate concert at Chichester Cathedral, as part of the 2011 festivities, Elaine returned to the USA to reprise her role in Follies – this time on Broadway. Follies opened at the Marquis Theatre in New York on 12th September and once again the critics were unanimous in their praise for her performance and she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.
2012 kicked off with Elaine performing two concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center – her debut concert performances in New York, which the New York Daily News said “After 34 years, London theatre legend Elaine Paige finally got to sing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina on a New York stage. It was worth the wait.” After a short break Follies moved to the West Coast of America in May to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles for a limited 6 week only sold out engagement.
In September 2012 Elaine was given an Honorary Degree of Doctor Of Letters by the University of East Anglia and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts at a ceremony in London. The year ended with a series of successful concert appearances in New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and two special concerts in the UK – one at Raymond Blanc’s La Manoir in Oxford and the other for The Prince’s Trust at the Central Hall Westminster in London.
As 2013 commenced Elaine was nominated and won the 2012 BroadwayWorld Los Angeles Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Touring) and the original cast recording of Follies, featuring Elaine, was included in the category Best Musical Theater Album in the 55th Grammy Award nominations.
Elaine then toured Scandinavia before commencing on her first ever concert tour of the USA – playing to sell out audiences and garnering rave reviews. With her continued success on BBC Radio 2 with Elaine Paige On Sunday, plus several projects in development it was very fitting for Elaine to be singing in Follies “I’m Still Here!”
Click here to download a detailed overview of Elaine Paige’s career highlights in Adobe’s PDF file format.
(Updated June 2013)