Elaine Paige

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Elaine Paige is an English actress and singer. She was born and raised in Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1948. She is known for her roles in musical theater.

She worked in the theatre from a young age. She quickly became famous in the role of Eva Perón in the musical Evita in 1978. She studied acting at the Aida Foster stage school in London and then played roles in the British tour of the show The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd and the first London production of Hair. She played Sandy in the London production of Grease and appeared as one of Michael Crawford's girlfriends in Billy. She has since said she was about to leave the world of acting, possibly to become a teacher, but then the role in Evita was offered to her.

After Evita, she did not have any work for a period, and she thought that her musical career had seen its best. When the actress Judi Dench had an injury during rehearsals for Cats, the producers asked Paige play the role in stead of Dench. They stated that the role "was not another Evita" and that her role only had one and a half songs. Fortunately, the song was "Memory", which was a top 10 hit for Paige and has become her signature song.

After Cats, she appeared in Abbacadbra, an ABBA compilation, and Chess, also written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA but with lyrics by Tim Rice, co-writer of Evita. Paige then scored a number 1 single, "I Know Him So Well", a song from Chess, as a duet with Barbara Dickson.

In 1989, she co-produced and starred in a production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes in London, which made a star of John Barrowman. In the early 1990s, her term relationship with the lyricist Tim Rice stopped and Paige tried an image change by recording an album with a California-based producer in the Bette Midler torch singer vein entitled Love Can Do That. Her solo albums had so far been a variety of songs, including the very successful Stages in 1983, with songs from musical theatre. In 1993, she returned to the United States to work with Peter Matz on an album called Romance and the Stage featuring songs from earlier days of musical theatre. The following year, she recorded, Piaf, which had music from the role she was playing in the Pam Gems play, also called Piaf. Critics were impressed by her acting skills in that play.

However, in 1995 she had a role in another musical, playing Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. She had always wanted to perform on Broadway and Sunset Boulevard now made this possible. For more than a year she played the role. She later had another role in 2000 with the King and I. She has recently moved more into television and radio work.

Paige was awarded an OBE in 1995 and is now hosting a Sunday afternoon BBC Radio 2 show which plays music from the stage and film.

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