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Elaine Paige: ‘British musical theatre relies too much on revivals’

Elaine Paige
Elaine Paige
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Elaine Paige has called for more new British musicals, claiming there are “too many revivals”.

The UK is “still waiting for the next Andrew Lloyd Webber”, with original new musical productions “too few and far between”, the singer and actor said.

Paige was speaking to The Stage ahead of her Elaine Paige in Concert performance at the Sage Gateshead on November 15.

She said: “There is an appetite [for new musicals] but they are not there, there are too many revivals like 42nd Street.

“I went to the Menier Chocolate Factory to see The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and it was just wonderful. That is a brilliant and British musical and it deserves to be in the West End, it was a really excellent performance.”

She added: “We are still waiting for the next Andrew Lloyd Webber or Tim Rice, it would be nice to think we can come up with some new stuff.

“It was heartening to see something that was British.”

Paige suggested that the lack of new British musicals could partly be down to financial reasons.

She said: “Absolutely [we need more new musicals], Andrew Lloyd Webber is trying to encourage that with his theatre the Other Palace.

“We don’t have the same love of musical theatre [as they do in America]. It is a tradition over there, they grew up with it.”

Paige added: “Musical theatre has changed a great deal since I was in it. Musicals have veered away from storytelling and there are a lot of jukebox musicals now.

“Hopefully now we are getting back to storytelling again.”

The musical theatre star also told The Stage that she is “very concerned” about the cuts to the arts in education.

She said: “I have written to my local MP about the EBacc. This obsession with going to uni and being academic is all very well, but not everyone is academically inclined. I wasn’t either.

“Without vocational studies and being fortunate enough to have had a wonderful music teacher, where would I be?”

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