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Thursday, 12 April 2012 23:07

Broadway Review: EVITA

Written by
Elena Roger Elena Roger Photo: Richard Termine

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita has been stunningly reimagined by director Michael Grandage in the show's first Broadway revival since it originally closed on Broadway in 1983.

Evita tells the glorified tale of the First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, and her rise from poverty to fame and power as the symbolic leader of the descamisados or “shirtless ones,” Argentina’s working class.  Despite never doing anything to help the people who worshipped her, she was considered a saint until she passed away at the age of 33 from cancer.

In this new production, Evita is played by Argentinian Elena Roger.  Ms. Roger has played the role in London's West End.  Her Evita is aloof.  She is most connected when belting out the show's tuneful score.  Unfortunately, Roger's singing voice has a shrillness to it.  She doesn’t have the power in her voice that the original Evita, Patti LuPone, did.

Pop-star Ricky Martin is the show's narrator, Che, the voice of the people.  Martin gives Che a pop-star veneer with an intensely earnest performance.  He handles the vocal requirements of the role with ease but it looks like every move he makes has been finely choreographed for him (even the hand gestures, and there were a lot of them.)  Martin is no stranger to Broadway, he previously starred as Marius in Les Misérables.  

As Gen. Juan Perón, Broadway veteran Michael Cerverus gives a solidly acted and well sung performance.  

Max von Essen is Magaldi, a night-club singer (in real life he was rumored to have traveled with Evita, though this has been disputed.)  von Essen has a beautiful tenor voice and was pitch-perfect singing the stratosphere-reaching “On This Night of a Thousand Stars.”  Rachel Potter plays Perón’s mistress who Evita throws out with “Hello and good-bye, I’ve just unemployed you.”  Ms. Potter has a lovely voice that did justice to “Another Suitcase In Another Hall.”   

Michael Grandage has beautifully staged this production.  Grandage takes advantage of the impressive scenic design of Christopher Oram and the lighting design of Neil Austin to paint pictures on stage.  Oram’s set creates a feel of the Casa Rosada with its arched windows, and Austin’s dramatic top and back-lighting set the mood.  Oram also designed the show’s costumes which nicely completed the picture.  Rob Ashford’s choreography is inspired by the native dance of Argentina, the tango.  

Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Cullen’s lush orchestrations were beautifully played by the large orchestra under the direction of Kristen Blodgette.  With 19 members in the orchestra, it’s large by today’s standards.  The sound of this orchestra playing one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most inspired scores is worth the price of admission alone.  Add to that the physical beauty of this production, the fine vocals of the chorus and the creative choreography and you have a very good reason to go see Evita.

View Full Production Credits at IBDB.com.

Additional Info

  • Show Style: Musical
Last modified on Thursday, 09 July 2015 03:28

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