Friday, January 19, 2007

West End Drowsy Chaperone: Another Great Paige Turner

West End Drowsy Chaperone: Another Great Paige Turner

One of London theatre's favorite musical actresses, Elaine Paige, will be stumbling along in the title role of the upcoming West End production of The Drowsy Chaperone. She'll be joined by none other than the original Man in Chair, Canadian Bob Martin (a Brit by birth), when the musical begins performances at London's Ivor Novello Theatre this May.

Although Paige has only had one turn on the Great White Way -- as a replacement for Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard in 1996 -- she's been a West End staple ever since winning a Laurence Olivier Award in 1978 for her breakthrough performance as the original Evita. As if that iconic role weren't enough, she originated the role of Grizabella in another Andrew Lloyd Webber premiere: Cats in 1981.

Five years later, Paige was nominated for a second Olivier Award for her work in Chess, and her single from that show "I Know Him So Well" became an international hit. A third Olivier nomination came for her turn as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes in 1989. Her fourth nod came via her portrayal of Edith Piaf in 1993's Piaf, while number five came in 1996 with Sunset Boulevard.

Given Paige's incredible stage status, that many place in a parallel universe with American Patti LuPone -- particulary because of the many roles they've originated/played on each side of the Atlantic -- her early addition to London's The Drowsy Chaperone will surely make this original musical a hot ticket across the pond. And to think that little show had its genesis in a Canadian fringe festival!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for The Drowsy Chaperone tickets (U.S.)

Related Stories:
The Drowsy Chaperone (The SOB Review) - Marquis Theatre, New York, NY (October 3, 2006)
The Curse Of The Understudy (October 2, 2006)
The Tonys: If I Could Vote...for Best Musical (May 31, 2006)
Mixed Reviews Tire The Drowsy Chaperone (May 2, 2006)
Will The Drowsy Chaperone Wake Critics? (May 1, 2006)

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At 19 January, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Post Script: Ghostlight Records has announced that they will be issuing a vinyl version of The Drowsy Chaperone cast album - along the lines of what Man in Chair actually plays on stage. This is said to be the first vinyl version of a cast album in over 20 years!


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