ELAINE PAIGE ‘Stripped Back’ Dubbed as ‘First Lady of Musical Theatre’, Elaine Paige OBE will perform 20 intimate concerts staring in October. Entitled ‘Stripped Back’ the much-loved legend will perform her favourite song written by contemporary songwriters, with a small group of musicians.
Her last solo tour was in 2014 and was a sell-out celebration encompassing her 50 year career, including ‘farewell’ in its title of ‘Paige by Paige: the farewell tour’. Upon announcing the dates, Elaine said: “I’m so excited about this series of intimate concerts. Having made the decision not to do a back to back tour again, this appealed to me not only because of the schedule, but as I’ve marked my 50 years on stage, this is going to allow me to do something completely different.”
The shows will recognise contemporary songwriters like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Jim Webb, Burt Bacharach, Leonard Cohen, Sting, Elton John, Lennon & McCartney, etc. “Their music has been the soundtrack to all our lives, not just mine and it’s the ideal opportunity to perform in an intimate way…I recently played the Royal Albert Hall with the 60 piece BBC Concert Orchestra…I’m doing these new shows ‘Stripped Back!”
Elaine has performed all over the world and has worked with legendary producers and released 22 solo albums (4 multi-Platinum and 9 Gold), featured on 7 cast recordings and has had major worldwide hits with iconic songs such as Memory from Cats and I Know Him So Well from Chess. Born Elaine Jill Bickerstaff and raised in the London Borough of Barnet, Elaine has made a major contribution to the musical theatre industry, training at Aida Foster Theatre School, after an original ambition to become a professional tennis player.
She has starred in more smash hit West End and Broadway musicals than anyone else of her generation and continues to present the hugely successful weekly BBC Radio 2 show Elaine Paige on Sunday, delighting audiences of over 2.5 million listeners each week, promoting amateur theatre through prerecorded ‘Break A Leg’ show dedications.
In 2014 she also presented The Elaine Paige Show on Sky Arts TV. As the series went to air a brand new Warner Music CD The Ultimate Collection was released to celebrate Elaine’s 50th year in the business featuring hits, rare unreleased tracks and a brand new re-mix of Be On Your Own, from the musical Nine, by Almighty Records. The year ended with the sell-out UK tour including a spectacular night at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. In 2015, she performed at The Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year in London, singing I’m Still Here – a song adapted to recognise the highlights of the great lady’s achievements, the original of which was from the show Follies.
Her first role on stage was playing Susanna in a school production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and, after graduating, her first job was modelling children’s clothing at the Ideal Home Exhibition. Paige’s first professional appearance on stage was during the UK tour of the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse musical The Roar of the Greasepaint:
The Smell of the Crowd in 1964 playing the role of a Chinese urchin. To audition for the role she sang “I’m Just a Girl who Cain’t Say No” but was rejected the first time. She was successful the second time around after being convinced to re-audition under a new name. Browsing through a phone book for inspiration, she became aware of the “page” she was observing and decided upon that name with the addition of an “i”.
At the age of 20 she made her West End debut in Hair on 27 September 1968, remaining in the cast until March 1970. While also being an understudy for the character of Sheila, she played a member of the tribe in the chorus, for which she was required to be naked on stage in one scene. She also appeared as an urchin in the West End’s Oliver! and, over the next decade, played roles in various musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, Nuts and Grease; in which she played the lead role of Sandy from 1973 to 1974; Billy, from 1974 to 1975 playing Rita; and The Boyfriend, as Maisie (1975-1976).
Paige had a minor role in the 1978 sex (soft porn) comedy film Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate. Tickets for her latest tour are on sale now and will cover the following dates, of which there is sure to be a bang on bonfire night in Birmingham (at Symphony Hall on Saturday 5th November), stopping of at various North West venues