Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Elaine Bickerstaff became Elaine Paige, 'First Lady of British Musical Theater'

In 1964, 16-year-old Elaine Bickerstaff auditioned for her first professional musical straight from drama school, and she didn't get the part.

Her teacher was so sure that Elaine was right for the show--“The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd,” on its pre-Broadway British tour--that she urged a name change and a stealthy second audition.

Desperate for a marquee-worthy name, Elaine leafed through the telephone book. She decided that the pages themselves were more interesting than any name printed on them, added the “i” for extra flair, and an unrecognized Elaine Paige was cast in the show.

Paige has sung onstage for a living ever since and is currently appearing in the star-studded Kennedy Center revival of "Follies" in Washington, D.C. She made her West End debut in “Hair” in 1968. In 1972, she was in the chorus of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Jesus Christ Superstar” and became a star as the pair's “Evita” in 1978. She introduced “Memory” in Lloyd Webber's “Cats” and has been the first lady of British musical theater to this day.

[More here.]

PLUS: Andrew Lloyd Webber--“She has a 'belt' voice in areas where no self-respecting angel will ever dare to tread and she has the heart to use this God-given voice in a way that imbues it with true emotion.” Here's the best of that voice, belted out or otherwise.


Crystal said...

i've always wondered what elaine page is doing now. btw, thanks to blogs such as yours, i've finally decided to put up my own music/musical blog. thank you for the inspiration!

Ludwig Bon Quirog y Migriño said...

yaaayy! Thanks for using my compilation video, Gibbs! Awesome piece. Elaine's voice has inspired me ever since I first heard her on YouTube.

I have British friends who, likewise, say she's just as wonderful as a person.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi CRYSTAL, great to know you're starting a theater-related blog. the more of us, the merrier! wanna read--lemme know the link? :)

LUDWIG, wow, that's yours? swell job! i should thank people like you for taking the time to do video compilations like that--very helpful, interesting and entertaining! :)

Crystal said...

the URL is http://musicalfanunleashed.blogspot.com there's not much content yet. i'm going to start with the 30-day musical theater challenge and work my way from there :P

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