Interview With Elaine Paige
Paige is one of the biggest stars in the history of British musical theatre. She is responsible for creating iconic roles; she was the first person to play Eva Perón in Evita and, with only two weeks’ notice, Grizabella in Cats. While Britain is famous for musicals, it’s also renowned for a different genre: pantomimes. These shows include humour, sing-alongs and gender-crossing actors. This month, Paige stars in Dick Whittington at the London Palladium.
Tell us about your role.
I am playing the villain: the evil Queen Rat. I look after the rats of London. I think it’s going to be fun!
Why should readers see it?
Because I am in it! This is full-on, high-energy entertainment, such fun with a lot of laughter and audience participation – there’s always that in pantomime.
What makes London’s theatre special?
It’s so diverse. That’s it, in a nutshell. There’s musicals, old and new, and wonderful plays – we’re the best in the world for drama.
How has London’s theatre scene changed?
There could be more new material in musical theatre. It is one of the most difficult genres to pull off. Our theatre scene is a lot of the reason that people come to this country, and certainly come to London.
What was it like landing Evita?
It helped me to never give up on things. You have to learn that things don’t always come easily or at the time that you want them to. The way to achieve anything in life is to persevere. Evita changed my life.
You were given an OBE. How did it feel to meet the Queen?
It was amazing! As you step forward to receive your award, they play relevant music. They played Memory for me!
How do you spend Christmas?
I go and sing carols. It’s always good fun. I’m hoping to spend it with my family and nieces.
From 9 Dec.