Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Memories: Celebrating 40 Years in the Theatre by Elaine Paige

Memories: Celebrating 40 Years in the Theatre by Elaine Paige  $99.99

Is it genetic or are we gay boys just more in touch with our sentimental sides and therefore more likely to enjoy musicals?  Here’s the test: how many songs from how many different shows can you sing at the drop of a hat?

Memories starts with a foreword from Andrew Lloyd Webber which gives a concise overview of Elaine Paige’s career, then Paige herself launches into the story of her journey to musical superstardom using the different shows she has been in to illustrate the trajectory of her career.  It certainly wasn’t a matter of luck; she put in some seriously hard work including three years at drama school followed by many parts in various choruses and a role as understudy to a lead part before she was noticed.  However all that hard work combined with her ambition to secure a top role brought her success when in 1978 she landed the leading role in Evita.  Although the role brought her worldwide attention, it was not without its problems but to this day for most of us it is Paige’s haunting voice that will always be associated with that show. Her next big break was when Judi Dench had to pull out of playing Grizabella in Cats – and the rest as they say is history…

Memories is effectively a well-produced photograph album giving the reader a peek into Paige’s career.  It includes details of each show’s production along with some background stories of her time with them. 

At $99.99 and only 160 pages it is to my mind a little pricey.  However it is a gorgeous albeit lightweight production and would make the perfect gift for anyone with a yen for those wonderful musicals of the late 20th century.

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