Her performance of the song Memory from that show is her signature piece. In 1994, Paige took over the role of Norma Desmond in Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard when Betty Buckley was ill, before stepping into the part full time the following year. She transferred to the American production to make her Broadway debut in a performance that Lloyd Webber described as "musically terrific" in 1996, staying with the show until it closed the following year. In 1998, Paige made a guest star appearance at the Andrew Lloyd Webber, fiftieth birthday celebration in the Royal Albert Hall. She sang Memory and Don't Cry for Me Argentina. By no means has Paige limited her theatre credits to Lloyd Webber projects.
In 1986, she appeared as Florence in Chess, (lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA), a role she had originated for the 1984 RCA double-disc concept album. The show was notable at the time for its set, which featured a large, tilting stage that resembled an illuminated chess board, with a proscenium built from television screens. For this role Paige was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award in a category Outstandng Performance by an Actress in a Musical. She followed this success with a hit revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes in 1989 which she co-produced with Tim Rice, based on the contemporary US (Lincoln Center) production starring Patti LuPone. In 1993, she embarked on a troubled run as famed French chanteuse Édith Piaf in Pam Gems' musical play Piaf (1993).
In 2000 she appeared in another acclaimed revival, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's The King and I, in which the King was played by Jason Scott Lee. In 2004, she sang the role of Mrs. Lovett in the New York City Opera production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. In June 2007 Paige will play the title role in the musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone at London's Novello Theatre. Paige also has had success in the UK singles charts. I Know Him So Well (from Chess), her duet with Barbara Dickson, held the #1 position in the British charts for four weeks, and still remains the biggest selling record by a female duo in the Guinness Book of Records.
She also had a top ten hit with Memory from Cats. Additionally, she has had eight consecutive gold and four multi-platinum albums. Paige released her first full studio album of new recordings in twelve years, "Essential Musicals" in October 2006. It includes popular songs from musicals identified by a poll on her radio show. Paige has hosted her own BBC television specials as well as starred in several films for the network, and has also performed in a number of televised Royal Variety Shows. Arts commentator Melvyn Bragg hosted a special edition of The South Bank Show about Paige's career in 1996, entitled The Faces of Elaine Paige.
She made special recordings of some of her most famous songs exclusively for the programme. It is frequently shown on PBS in the USA. More recently, Paige has focused on television appearances, playing Dora Bunner in the 2004 ITV adaptation of Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced, before performing a guest role as a post mistress in Where the Heart Is. In September 2004, Paige began a weekly radio show, Elaine Paige on Sunday, on BBC Radio 2, featuring music from musical theatre and film scores. Occasional interviews are also featured, having included theatre impressario Cameron Mackintosh, actress Angela Lansbury, the Pet Shop Boys and Elton John. Paige's show has been described by Elisabeth Mahoney of The Guardian as a "rare wrong move" on the part of Radio 2.
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