West End star signs up for Proms Festival

Elaine Paige
Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige is among the first star names to be announced for next summer’s expanded Lytham Festival.

The week-long event previously known as Lytham Proms will come to a dazzling conclusion on Sunday, August 9, with Paige, renowned as the first lady of British musical theatre, joined on stage by Marti Pellow and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Meanwhile, the 80s v 90s themed evening on the Friday of the Festival – August 7 – will feature leading stars of the era such as Billy Ocean, Jimmy Somerville, East 17, Sinitta, 5ive, Vengaboys and Chesney Hawkes.

Today’s announcement has been greeted with delight by traders and tourism officials, who are now eagerly looking forward to hearing in the coming weeks who will be the headliners on the Saturday and the first-ever Thursday evening of the extended Festival.

Robert Silverwood, vice-chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: “It’s really going to be a spectacular event and we are all really looking forward to it. In just a few years, Lytham Proms has established itself as a key event in its own right of which the town is so proud.

“It was so exciting to hear a few weeks ago that the newly-styled Festival is to cover seven days next year, with four evenings of performance but after attracting the calibre of performers we have seen in recent years, the challenge is always there for the promoters to follow up with names at least as big.

“Elaine Paige, Marti Pellow, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the likes of Billy Ocean on the 80s v 90s evening certainly do that. They are serious acts and it’s going to be magical.”

Coun Sue Fazackerley, cabinet member for tourism as well as leader of Fylde Council: “What excellent news. They are really big names and I am really looking forward to the Festival under its new format.

“The final evening in particular is always really spectacular and Elaine Paige and Marti Pellow are an exciting prospect.

“As for the Friday, act announced would be a prime attraction in their own right, so to have them all coming to Lytham is a real coup.”

Paige, who this year celebrated 50 years in showbusiness, and Pellow, who has emerged in recent years as a leading performer on the West End stage after making his name as frontman of 90s chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet, will be joined on the Sunday evening of the Festival by tenor Jonathan Antoine and soprano Laura Wright, who will both be making return visits to the Lytham stage.

A spokesman for Festival promoters Cuffe and Taylor, said: “Between them, Elaine and Marti share credits for theatrical hits including Evita, Blood Brothers, Hair and Cats and few other singers are better qualified to so expertly celebrate the theme of ‘Songs from Stage and Screen’.”

Marti Pellow said: “I’m just delighted to have been invited to perform on the last night of the Lytham Festival – it’s going to be an amazing evening of some of my favourite songs of all time.

“It’s also a real privilege to be working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra again.

“I know we’re going to end up creating something very special that night.”

Pellow has recently appeared in the West End as Che in a revival of Evita, the musical in which Paige shot to national acclaim as the first performer to play the title role when it opened in London in 1978.

She went on to originate the role of Grizabella in Cats – also recently revived – and had a Top 10 hit with Memory, a song from the show.

In 1985, Paige released I Know Him So Well with Barbara Dickson from the musical Chess, which remains the biggest-selling record by a female duo.

She then appeared in the original stage production of Chess, followed by a starring role in Anything Goes which she also co-produced.

Paige made her Broadway debut in Sunset Boulevard in 1996, playing the lead role of Norma Desmond, to critical acclaim.

Pellow was the voice of Wet Wet Wet, who topped the charts for 15 weeks in 1994 with their cover of the Troggs’ 60s hit Love Is All Around.

Ocean’s breakthrough hit in 1984 was Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run), which won him the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The following year, he topped the charts with When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going) from the soundtrack of the film Romancing The Stone.

Tickets starting at £32.50 go on sale this Saturday and are available from www.lythamfestival.com or by calling the box office on 0844 888 0200.

The 2015 Lytham Festival sees the event span a whole week – from August 2 to 9, with four performance evenings on The Green from August 6 – and encompass not just music but also comedy and literary elements for all ages across multiple venues in the local area.

A special early bird deal has already been announced, offering entry to the Proms Arena, over four nights for just £99.

The ticket covers the confirmed 80s Vs 90s Friday night party and the closing Last Night Of The Proms: Songs From Stage And Screen Sunday show, as well as the new Thursday night and Saturday’s weekend headliner.

Peter Taylor, director of festival organisers Cuffe And Taylor, said: “The excitement building up around Lytham Festival is really gathering pace.

“We wanted to give our supporters a chance to grab a bargain but we do advise people to act fast though to avoid disappointment as this offer want be around for long.”

The strictly limited availability deal is for sale at www.ticketline.co.uk/lytham-festival.