Elaine Paige Will Raise a Highball in London's Drowsy Chaperone

News   Elaine Paige Will Raise a Highball in London's Drowsy Chaperone Elaine Paige, no stranger to singing life-force ballads in Broadway and West End musicals, will introduce another in the London premiere of The Drowsy Chaperone, the producers announced.

Elaine Paige will be London's Drowsy Chaperone.
Elaine Paige will be London's Drowsy Chaperone.

Bob Martin, the Tony Award-winning musical's Tony-honored co-librettist and Tony-nominated star, will join Paige at the Ivor Novello Theatre in the West End. Performances begin May 14 toward a June 6 opening.

Paige will play the title role of the tipsy matron who offers advice — in the form of the inspirational ballad, "As We Stumble Along" — to a young bride. London-born Canadian Martin will re-create the role of Man in Chair, the narrator and host of The Drowsy Chaperone. The hermetic guide talks directly to the audience, playing his favorite Broadway cast album. As the scratchy tunes waft through his studio apartment, the vintage show comes to life around him.

Broadway's Casey Nicholaw will again direct and choreograph. The Broadway design team will also be represented in London. Additional casting will be announced.

The original musical comedy has Tony-winning songs by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a Tony-winning book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The show won five 2006 Tony Awards.

Paige was brought to the public's attention when she created her award-winning performance as Eva Peron in Evita in London. She then created the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats, introducing "Memory." She had a recording hit with "I Know Him So Well," with Barbara Dickson, from Chess. She also starred in London's Anything Goes, The King and I, Piaf and Sunset Boulevard (also on Broadway). In 2004 she performed the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at New York City Opera (and snagged a Drama Desk Award nomination for it). She has recorded 16 solo albums and six cast albums. In 1995, Paige received the Order of the British Empire for services to Musical Theatre.

Paige said in a statement, "I saw The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway and loved it and now I'm very excited about returning to the West End in this wonderfully funny, original new musical. I'm really looking forward to being part of a terrific ensemble piece and I think we're all going to have a lot of fun. I can't wait to get started."

Bob Martin said in a statement, "We're all thrilled with the success that Drowsy has had in New York, but as I was born in London there's no bigger thrill for me than to be returning to my home town gainfully employed!"

The Drowsy Chaperone set designs are by David Gallo, costume designs are by Gregg Barnes, lighting is by Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, with sound design by Acme Sound Partners, orchestrations by Larry Blank and dance and incidental music arrangements by Glen Kelly.

The Drowsy Chaperone is produced in the West End by Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Boyett Ostar, Stephanie McClelland and Barbara Freitag and Jill Furman.