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Elaine Paige to Play Title Role in London Production of The Drowsy Chaperone

Elaine Paige to Play Title Role in London Production of The Drowsy Chaperone
Bob Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone

Elaine Paige is set to star in the West End production of the hit Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone. The musical will preview at the Novello Theatre from May 14, with press night on June 5 and opening night on June 6.

The Drowsy Chaperone is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw with music by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Don McKellar and writer/performer Bob Martin, who will reprise his Tony-nominated role as Man in Chair in London.

The show follows a modern day musical theater addict known simply as "Man in Chair" as he drops the needle on his favorite LP: the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the uproariously funny musical magically bursts to life on stage, telling the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, the producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, the debonair groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs.

Paige, who will play the title role, has starred in numerous productions in the West End and on Broadway. She was brought to the public's attention when she created her award-winning performance as Eva Peron in Evita. She went on to create the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats. Her other theater credits include early performances in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Billy, Chess with her record-breaking number one hit "I Know Him So Well" with Barbara Dickson, Anything Goes, Piaf, Sunset Boulevard in London and New York, The Misanthrope and a yearlong run in The King and I at the London Palladium. In 2003 she played Angèle in the Feydeau farce Where There's A Will and in 2004 she took on the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the New York City Opera. Paige also has performed many concerts worldwide, from the White House to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. In 2004 she launched a weekly radio show Elaine Paige on Sunday on BBC Radio 2. She has recorded 16 solo albums and 6 cast albums. Her many awards include Society of West End Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical , The Variety Club Award for Show Business Personality of the year and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association. She received the Order of the British Empire for services to Musical Theatre in 1995.

Martin received 2006 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his book and a 2006 Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in The Drowsy Chaperone. He was also nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his performance. His other theater credits include An Awkward Evening With Martin and Johnson, The Good Life, Alumni Café and Skippy's Rangers. His film and television work includes Last Night, Torso, Made in Canada and Burnt Toast. Bob Martin has won many awards for his writing including the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award and five Canadian Comedy Awards.

"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," Paige said in a statement. "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!" Beth Leavel won a 2006 Tony Award for playing the tipsy "chaperone" in the Broadway production of the show.

Bob Martin, Bookwriter and Man in Chair, 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 opened at the Marquis Theatre in New York in May 2006. It won five Tony Awards, including Best Book, Best Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actress Beth Leavel, Best Scenic Design David Gallo and Best Costume Design Gregg Barnes. It also garnered seven Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical, four Outer Critics' Circle Awards and the Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical.

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

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