With the emergence of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1970s as major players in a burgeoning musical theatre scene, Elaine Paige was already making a splash in the West End in productions of Hair and Billy. Winning the coveted role of Eva Peron in Evita catapulted Paige not only into the public eye, but also into a new golden age of British musical theatre, with later roles in Cats, Chess and Sunset Boulevard cementing her status as a genuine, bankable West End star.
Now celebrating 50 years in showbusiness, Paige opens her farewell tour with a conversational version of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. It is an emotional moment for the capacity crowd. Soon, musical director Chris Egan and the BBC Concert Orchestra up the pace and Paige bursts into a soaring, solid rendition of Frank Loesser’s Luck Be a Lady.
Aside from musical theatre, Paige reminds her audience that she was the first recording artist to cover Queen hits with an album in 1988 and a spirited Radio Ga Ga is accompanied by a montage of images from her hugely popular Radio Two show. Broadway accomplishments are highlighted with a hilarious new version of Sondheim’s I’m Still Here with new lyric by Anthony Drewe.
Complemented by guest vocalist Gardar Thor Cortes, who delivers a stunning performance of Till I Hear You Sing and with tributes on stage from both Rice and Webber, this may be Paige’s farewell tour but it seems unlikely she’ll be out of the spotlight for long.
- Royal Albert Hall, London
- October 20
- Creator: Elaine Paige
- Director: Laura Corcoran
- Design: Jacques Azagury costume, Mark Jones Roberts lighting, Enrico Fortunati and Eoin Cunningham sound
- Musical director: Chris Egan
- Technical: Steve Porter tour manager, Kris Lundburg head of lighting
- Cast: Elaine Paige, Gardar Thor Cortes, Chris Egan accompanist, BBC Concert Orchestra
- Producer: SJM Concerts
- Running time: 2hrs