Queen of musical theatre Elaine Paige comes to The Meres

Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige

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Musical theatre legend and Radio 2 host Elaine Paige brings her show to Grantham Meres leisure centre on Friday night.

‘Stripped Back’ will see her perform her favourite tracks from an array of contemporary songwriters, with a small group of musicians.

Since she burst on the showbiz scene in the 1970s, Elaine has been the undoubted queen of the musical theatre.

She has worked with some of the greatest contemporary songwriters in the genre, from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to Benny and Bjorn from Abba.

And she is now equally famous for her popular Sunday afternoon radio show, which features all the latest in musical theatre, and which it is fair to say, she presents in a carefree manner.

But fans should expect the unexpected, she said.

“It is going to be something a little bit different form my usual musical theatre programme. This is going to be about all the songwriters I have grown up with and always loved. Every generation has music they listen to when they are young that really stays with them and that they love. This will be celebrating the writers that I love. Leon Russell, Jimmy Webb, Bread, the Beatles, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Sting.

“There are a lot of them. i suppose Jim Webb really started me of on this path and really opened it up for me. i think it was something he had written for Thelma Houston’s Sunshower album. I just loved his writing, his lyrics really. What I love are the stories, the narrative really.”

She will sing two Webb songs, Macarthur Park and If These Old Walls Could Speak.

“All of the songs mean something to me. Leon Russell’s A Song For You. Brilliant. I have been waiting 40 years to sing it.”

She said that as an actress she loved songs that gave her a chance to emote, to share in the story behind the lyrics.

The tour though had thrown up quite a challenge for her. “This is 80 per cent new material for me, and means I have to learn something like 15 new songs. I have been working on this concert for a good six months, by the time I get up and perform, it will be nearly a year of my life.

“It is a chance for me to move on from singing the same old songs. I will still sing them, of course, but I am hoping the audience will be my kind of age and remember these songs themselves.”

Tickets are still available from The Guildhall Arts Centre Box Office, call 01476 406158 or visit www.guiildhallartscentre.com