Dave Gee: Entertainment Now: Elaine Paige joins Drowsy Chaperone on West End
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English singer and actor Elaine Paige is to return to the London stage for the first time in six years, for the West End production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The show, a spoof on 1920's style musicals, has been a surprise hit on Broadway, and won 5 Tony awards last year including Best Score and Best Book. The new musical recouped its (US) $8 million investment in just seven months, after opening at Manhattan's Marquis Theatre in May 2006.

Bob Martin played the lead "Man in Chair" character on Broadway. The (fictional) 1928 musical-comedy The Drowsy Chaperone comes to life in his New York apartment, when he plays his favourite cast record on his turntable. Martin will reprise his role in the West End production, set to open in the English spring.

Elaine Paige (who says she loved the Broadway production) will play the character of the Drowsy Chaperone. No other casting has been confirmed yet, although the popular Michael Ball and John Barrowman are both rumoured to have been approached.

London previews at the Novello theatre begin in mid-may, with The Drowsy Chaperone set to have its premiere on June 6.

(The Drowsy Chaperone has music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison, and a book by Don McKellar & Bob Martin).

* Whatsonstage.com: Chaperone Premieres at Novello with Paige, 6 Jun