On May 7 for five weeks there will be a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies where Elaine Paige will sing “I’m Still Here” for the first time. A strong cast includes Bernadette Peters.
Paige talked to Playbill about the role:
She is a survivor and somebody that is not that dissimilar to me probably. In the fact that she has been there, done it all, been around the block a few times. She’s been there, seen it and got the T-shirt as it were. And, in many respects there are similarities. I’m not a movie star or anything, but I have been around a while. I’ve done theatre and done radio and done television and concerts and made albums, and I’m still surviving, and I’m here as well.
Quite interestingly, when I was doing some PR in London for my concert tour, a journalist was talking to me and said that I am referred to as “The First Lady of British Musical Theatre.” It always amuses me. The journalist said, “How do you feel about? That must be ghastly. It means you’ve been around forever. I’d steer clear of that if I were you.” And I found myself feeling a bit uptight with him. I said, “You know what, being referred to as the First Lady of the British Musical, I am pleased about that. I take that as a compliment.” Yes, I’ve been around a while, but that’s fine, too. I’m experienced and I’ve done a lot of different things. I find that to be a compliment. It means “I’m still here.” I laughed out loud. He didn’t know why. I thought, “God. I’ve actually said the title of the song for real.” There was a real reason for me to say it.
So, that is how I feel about it really. She’s got a lot of balls. I think she may be a little vulnerable, but she is not going to grow old in pastel colors, let’s put it that way. She’s still going to get her eyelashes on and do her hair and get out there. She is still doing it. It’s gritty. I think she is a gritty person, and she’s got energy and a zest for life and just loves what she does. And, yet it has not been easy. There have been good times and bad times and she has seen it all, but she is still here, and I can genuinely say that for myself.