Those disappointed by the abrupt closing of Singular Sensations before West End star Elaine Paige had her chance to perform can take heart. Paige is set to return to the New York stage in March 2004.
According to scotsman.com Paige will take on the role of Mrs. Lovett in the New York City Opera's production of Sweeney Todd. Paige's manager Deke Arlon told the internet site, "[Elaine] is delighted that she has been invited to sing with the New York Opera. It is a great honor to be invited. She is terribly proud. It is the highlight of an already very successful musical career.” A New York City Opera spokesperson could not confirm the casting to Playbill On-Line.
Sweeney Todd will play New York City Opera March 5-28. Harold Prince, who directed Paige in the original West End production of Evita, will again direct her here. Eugene Lee will design the sets, with costumes by Franne Lee, original choreography by Larry Fuller, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design Abe Jacob.
Considered one of Stephen Sondheim's masterpieces, Sweeney Todd originally premiered at Broadway's Uris Theatre on Feb. 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast's Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.
A recent major production of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler work, which is based on a version of "Sweeney Todd" by Christopher Bond, was the Kennedy Center mounting, which starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski. A concert presentation of the musical, directed by Lonny Price and led by Tony winners George Hearn and Patti LuPone confirmed the strength of Sondheim's score, which boasts such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea" and "Not While I'm Around."
Arguably Britain's most successful musical theatre actress, Elaine Paige has starred on the London stage in Evita, Cats, Chess, Anything Goes, Piaf, Sunset Boulevard and The King and I. She made her Broadway debut to much acclaim in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, and her recordings are numerous.