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Elaine Paige

Queen of Musical Theatre: Q&A with Elaine Paige


Elaine Paige, the queen of musical theatre, is heading to our southern city with a show at Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal on Monday 21 January.

 

Elaine Paige

 

The English singer and actress has built a stellar career, with some laudable performances, including the role of Eva Perón in the first production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in 1978, which made her a household name.
We caught up with Elaine to discuss her illustrious career.

 

Can you tell us a bit about the concert series and what Christchurch audiences can look forward to?
It’s a concert series that will be celebrating song writers that I love and people I grew up listening to, such as Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Carly Simon. It’s really celebrating their music and a bit of a soundtrack of all our lives really, from the late 60s to 70s. It’s a show that has something for everybody.

 


What attracted you to singing and performing?
Academically I was not that interested; I was always much more about the vocational things in life. Singing was something I knew I loved; I was in the school choir, did the end of school productions. Dad asked me if I would like to go to drama school. I’m always grateful he made that suggestion. I’m not altogether sure I would have come to that myself. From a middle class family, we knew nothing about drama schools or anything of that ilk. Pretending to be someone else appealed to me, so I went to drama school and that’s how it all began.

 


What are some of your career highlights?
Evita will be one of the major highlights. Having the opportunity to originate the role of Eva Peron gave me a career in musical theatre, so that will always be the one that is most special to me. I was able to pick and choose after Evita what roles I wanted to play. I was very fortunate to find myself in a very privileged position that gave me a career and choice.

 


You’ve performed at some of the biggest venues around the world, what are you looking forward to about performing in New Zealand?
I’ve come ‘Down Under’ to New Zealand and Australia several times during my career, although I haven’t been your way in half a dozen years. So I’m really looking forward to visiting and seeing the changes. Equally it’s like coming home really because New Zealand is so similar to England. That’s what I like about it. People are always very welcoming and in the past have come out to see me, so I’m hoping I can enjoy the same this time around.

 


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
I’ve always worked very hard, many hours, done many different things. Next year I’m coming to see you in January, then when I come back to England there’s some television on the cards, a play I might be doing and in the summer I’m looking to do a new album with Cliff Richard. I’ve been having a quiet year this year, jumped off the bandwagon for a bit, smelled the roses and next year is looking to be quite busy.

 



 

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia’s Ashburton debut: get carried away to the music of ABBA at The Ashburton Events Centre

More than 54 million people around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make Mamma Mia! And, in May 2018, it will be performed for a limited season at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre, with a stellar cast, live band, amazing custom-made touring set and costumes.

Mamma Mia

The Ashburton Trust Event Centre was born out of the necessity to replace the aged Regent Theatre that had occupied the site for many years and was in very bad repair. “It would not have survived the Christchurch earthquakes had it still been standing,” Ashburton Events Centre Manager Roger Farr says.
“The brickwork was crumbling, the dressing rooms leaked like a sieve and there were broken trusses in the roof.”
Now ten years on, the Ashburton Trust Event Centre is gearing up to celebrate its first milestone by staging the box office extravaganza Mamma Mia. Leading the production team will be Director Roger Farr, Musical Director Richard Marrett and Choreographer Madison Tew Keyworth from Australia.
“I couldn’t think of a better show to pick for a celebration than Mamma Mia,” Madison says.
“It’s such a fun show; one of those shows that you just cannot help but smile when watching! It’s a clever storyline woven throughout Abba’s greatest hits.”
Mamma Mia runs from Friday 18 May to Saturday 26 May. For more information and to purchase tickets, drop in and see the team at the Event Centre, or visit online at
www.ateventcentre.co.nz.

North Canterbury Musical Society

Dastardly deeds: Jekyll & Mr Hyde (The Musical) is North Canterbury Musical Society’s next thrilling show

As the fog descends footsteps approach – closer, closer. You hear laughter – a chilling cackle; you clutch your companion’s arm… surely there’s safety in numbers? From the mist, a raised arm, a bloodied blade – you scream! Too late… Jekyll and Hyde have already entered the theatre.

North Canterbury Musical Society

Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Jekyll and Hyde, the rock musical, opens at Rangiora Town Hall on 10 May.
“It’s a challenging show for our cast, but in a good way,” says Director Paul Johnson. “It’s very much a musical with music entwined, rather than a play with songs.”
Born and bred in Rangiora, Paul is very loyal to his hometown. He has been involved with the North Canterbury Musical Society (NCMS) since 2006 when he played Bernardo in West Side Story. His directing debut came in 2011 with Guys and Dolls. “It’s thanks to NCMS that I am where I am in the performing arts in Canterbury.”
Paul says there’s a great camaraderie within the Jekyll and Hyde cast. “Many of our cast live outside Rangiora, so there’s a lot of car-pooling to rehearsals.”
Musical Director Leanne O’Mahony has done an impressive 10 shows for NCMS and Lance McBride, who plays Jekyll/Hyde, had the lead role in the 2015 NCMS production of Disney Beauty and the Beast, directed by Paul.
Jekyll and Hyde: 10 May to 26 May, Rangiora Town Hall. For more information email director@ncms.co.nz or to book tickets visit www.ncms.co.nz with iTicket.