There can’t be many performers who are still giving it large after 50 years, but Elaine Paige, the popularly crowned Queen of British musical theatre (with the OBE to prove it) is one of them. An honest, thoughtful singer, who gives generously of her time – for her, this interview was taking place after 10pm – she’s managed her career with an adept hand ever since she burst onto the scene as Eva Peron in the premiere production of Evita. The famed belt may not soar quite as high these days – “like most things in life, everything’s dropped,” she chuckles over the phone – but this month she brings her latest show down under in a visit to shores that over the years she has come to love.

Elaine Paige. Photo © Justin Downing/Sky Arts

“When I was in musical theatre, I don’t know how many shows I seemed to do back to back, year in, year out, but I had to be very careful about eating the right food and getting enough rest,” she explains when I ask her about her secret of vocal longevity. “No chocolate, no alcohol....

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