Elaine Paige on Her Farewell Concert, Nicole Scherzinger in Cats & More

first_img View Comments Elaine Paige is often referred to as the First Lady of British Musical Theater, having originated such iconic roles as Eva Peron in Evita and Grizabella in Cats. But now—50 years after her professional debut, the Olivier winner heads to the big screen in a broadcast of I’m Still Here, her Royal Albert Hall farewell concert from October. The touring swansong is set to hit movie theaters in the U.K. on April 23 and the U.S. and Canada on May 12. Broadway.com recently caught up with Paige to discuss her goodbye to touring, Nicole Scherzinger’s “Memory” and just what exactly she’s hiding in her closet.You’re saying goodbye to touring, but not performing, right?I’m just hanging up my touring shoes. As the concert is called, I’m Still Here, and I am definitely still here. I’m just not going to be touring as much.You’re famous for originating so many roles, but are there any parts that got away? Gypsy is one that I would have loved to have played, but I don’t see myself doing it now. It would be too taxing physically and vocally. That one got away from me. I also always wanted to play My Fair Lady. But I was so fortunate to have come along at the time that I did—my journey went along with Andrew [Lloyd Webber]. I can’t complain that a couple of the traditional musicals got away from me.How do you approach your signature numbers on the concert stage as opposed to in the context of a show? Somehow, the dialogue that you had with the director still comes back to haunt you. When I sing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” I remember Hal [Prince] saying to me to make eye contact with various people in the front row. Every time I ever sing it, I always do that. It grounds me and reminds me of what the song is about, even though I’m not in costume and I haven’t got the rest of the cast around me.And yet you don’t you wear your full Norma Desmond costume at one point during the concert?It’s the original costume that I wore [in Sunset Boulevard] back in 1996! I’ve kept all my costumes. It had a few alterations made to it, but basically it is the original costume. To put that back on was so strange. It all came flooding back to me.Is that the only one you wear in the concert? No Grizabella or Eva? I don’t know if I particularly want to get into that costume in a concert environment! Without that makeup, that old coat wouldn’t quite work. The one costume I didn’t get to keep was for Evita. I would have loved to have been able to keep that ball gown.How did you feel about Nicole Scherzinger’s Grizabella? She sang it wonderfully—kind of a more pop interpretation, but she sang up a storm. I give a very different interpretation of that song because I’ve lived life a bit. She played it more as a young, glamorous cat. It didn’t quite make sense to me, lyrically speaking.Do you ever get used to seeing someone else in a role you’ve originated? Last year I saw both [Eva Peron and Grizabella] sung by somebody else; it’s a weird experience. I suppose it’s a bit like Shakespeare or anything else—so many people play the roles, you have to let go of it to some degree. It’s always an interesting exercise, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d want to do too often. Star Filescenter_img Elaine Paigelast_img

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