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re: the Paige Norma
Posted by: GabbyGerard 03:14 pm EDT 08/26/19
In reply to: the Paige Norma - Delvino 07:38 am EDT 08/25/19

Back in the 90s, when I saw Paige during her Broadway run, I thought she was terrific. As you pointed out, she was the production's first (perhaps the only) Norma to channel Swanson, which--odd as this may sound--seemed somewhat "fresh" since others seemed to have been so intentionally avoiding any Swanson-isms. I would also say she was Broadway's most consistently well-sung Norma. When Buckley was in good voice, which was about 75% of the time, her vocals were outstanding...but when she got tired, she would sound noticeably hoarse and raspy, go flat on the money notes (an unfortunate pattern that has been repeated frequently in her run as Dolly), and alter the melody of The Perfect Year to avoid its high notes. Paige always sounded strong-voiced and healthy--maybe because her attendance was not as good as Buckley's or Close's?

Over the years, though, Paige's interpretation has dimmed in my esteem. Maybe it's because she relied so heavily on Swanson's body language, cadences, and facial expressions. She did not imprint on my brain as indelibly as others because, well, she didn't have to...I could go back to the movie and see the original, more authentic version of her Norma. To use actor-speak, one could argue that Paige was taking an outside-in approach, but, ultimately, I've felt that she didn't go deep enough in to create a lasting emotional impact.
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