Elaine Paige

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Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige OBE (née Bickerstaff; born 5 March 1948) is an English singer and actress, primarily in musicals.


  • It was the most terrible feeling. I'd had enough and I'd felt I'd lost something so very important to me. I thought it had died and gone away. And I was frightened it might not come back. I just didn't seem to be able to shake off this feeling of doom and gloom. I had to come home. But to what? I was tired. I missed New York and the show and the people. It was like a grieving process.
  • I couldn't tell anyone about it. I didn't want anyone to know. It's only now that I've survived, I'm able to speak about it. As far as I know I'm clear and completely well - but it never leaves you completely. It's made me learn a lot about myself. When you're on your own, you've just got to get on with it, grit your teeth and think, 'Right, I'm going to beat this.' I did have my dear friend and, without him, I don't know what I would have done.
    • Regarding Paige's battle with cancer; as quoted in "Elaine's close curtain call" by Rebecca Hardy in The Daily Mail (8 May 2004)
  • I have been fortunate to play some fantastic roles in musicals and I find it difficult to say which is my favourite. It's generally whichever I am playing at the time. However playing Eva Peron in Evita will always be particularly special to me. Being chosen to originate the role in the premiere of a much sought after and what became a ground-breaking, award-winning musical which launched my career was a great challenge and it gave me the opportunity to play more great roles in the future.
    • As quoted in "Angie Davidson Interviews Elaine Paige" by Angie Davidson in lupus.org.uk (2005)
  • Learn to take rejection, keep fit and work only with the best in your field.
    • As quoted in "Portrait of the artist: Elaine Paige, actor" by Laura Barnett in The Guardian (22 May 2007)
  • My dad always told me that perseverance furthers. He was right.
    • As quoted in "Portrait of the artist: Elaine Paige, actor" by Laura Barnett in The Guardian (22 May 2007)

Show girl (2000)[edit]

Quotes from "Show girl" by Lynn Barber in The Guardian (16 May 2000)
  • I did miss the music a bit - but only in the wings, when I was waiting to go on. It seemed dreadfully quiet, rather unnerving. But the wonderful thing was that one didn't have to be quite so obsessive about one's health, and one's voice.
  • Oh, it was awful, and I vowed to myself I would never, ever push myself to the edge that much again. It was really frightening. Because absolutely everything seemed to be impossible to deal with, just little things became major - noise, if someone had a radio on, or even the sound of traffic, or being in someone's company for longer than 10 minutes - I started to find it all too much.
    • Regarding the run of Piaf
  • I thought: "Gosh, it really has been worth the wait." And I think had I gone with Evita, I probably wouldn't have been ready to deal with it. It was just the most perfect time to go with that particular show.
    • Regarding Paige's Broadway debut
  • And so one becomes, or I become, anyway, slightly obsessive, particularly about my health, because you wouldn't want to read the letters people write when you're off and they're disappointed - it's so awful, the guilt one feels for not being there.

Rock and pop (2006)[edit]

Quotes from "Rock and pop" by Will Marlow in Manchester Evening News (17 October 2006)
  • On the very rare occasion when they don't all jump up out of their seats I'm always mortified.
  • It was terribly difficult. It's not something I ever wanted in my life. Naively I just thought, 'oh I've got this great part'. I never thought about the reality of all the stuff that went with it. I'm actually quite a shy person when I'm not on stage.
    • Regarding Paige's fame after Evita
  • I would have liked to have had kids, and had a family, but I think in my profession it's quite difficult to achieve because you're always working. I think I'm the kind of person as well, had I had kids, I wouldn't have gone on working. I would have jacked it all in. But it's a wonderful life I have, so I'm very fulfilled in other ways. Am I ever bothered by it? Well it's too late now, (laughs).

Quotes about Paige[edit]

  • I never expected to like her at all - she has quite a reputation for being difficult and once told a male interviewer that she would no longer give interviews to female journalists because 'I don't trust other women in these situations. They establish a sisterhood with you and then betray it every time.' But actually I found her chatty, friendly, good humoured.
  • She is confident when she talks about singing and stagecraft, surprisingly diffident when it comes to anything outside her field.
    • Lynn Barber in "Show girl" in The Guardian (16 May 2000)
  • Three years ago, around Christmas, when she was starring in The King and I in London, Mum was diagnosed with cancer. Elaine thought she should come out of the show, but Mum wanted her to finish her contract. That was very hard for Elaine, having to go on stage night after night knowing she wanted to be with Mum.
    • Marion Billings in "Relative Values: Elaine Paige, singer, and her sister, Marion" by Sue Fox in The Times (23 May 2004)
  • Although no one could question her zealous work ethic (she drove herself to breakdown performing in Pam Gems’s Piaf in 1993), Paige is not exactly known for her humility. In newspaper profiles, that dread word "difficult" is often applied, and yet here she is in the chorus line, cheerfully taking on a modest role in a musical with far more credibility and less bombast than the shows that made her name.

External links[edit]

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