Elaine Paige stripped back for Northampton

Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige

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Elaine Paige is one of the country’s best known musical theatre performers and she is set for a comeback to the stage.

Stripped Back comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Saturday, November 30, as part of a visit across the country, but it’s not a tour as she explains.

Elaine said: “What happened is that when I did the 50th anniversary tour a couple of years ago, there were a lot of people saying to me that I can’t retire, even though that is a horrible word.

“But I knew I couldn’t do a tour again so this is a series of weekend concerts which is something I can still manage. I wish people would stop calling it a tour.

“I am calling it Stripped Back because it will be just me with a few musicians celebrating some of the very best song writers.”

And it will be a chance for her to perform songs by musicians that she really admires.

Elaine added: “It will be songs performed from my era, the late 60s and 70s such as those written by Jim Webb, Randy Newman, Paul Simon and Glenn Campbell.

“I didn’t want to go on and do the songs that I am known for.

“I wanted to do something different and something that would challenge me artistically.

“I am still working on the set list for the show at the moment and I am not ruling out singing some of my most famous songs, but it will be looking to celebrate those songs.

“I have done a show like this before. I did some shows where it was just me and a piano and I was terrified of doing those shows because it was really stripped back.

“I am not terrified of doing these shows though. There will be some other musicians, but it is not the same numbers as doing a musical or doing a concert with an enormous orchestra. In fact, I can’t always hear myself perform in those circumstances.

“Although I won’t have fellow actors to bounce off, it is still something I am looking forward to.”

With so many roles in leading West End theatre shows, I asked Elaine what her favourites have been.

She said: “The first one was playing Eva Peron in Evita. It was a really meaty part and went right from the age of 16 right through to the end of her life, and the music from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice was fantastic.

“The second was playing Edith Piaf, who is a musician who I really love. But it is a show which I call my Hamlet.

“The other was playing Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and that was because not only did I get to do it in the West End but also on Broadway, which was a triumph.”

For tickets call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.