Caroline Bowman has a role wrapped and decorated with a huge bowed.
She is playing Evita in the Pittsburgh CLO production of Evita, opening July 8 and running through July 13. Tickets range from $70.75-$10; for ticket information, call 412-456-6666 or visit pittsburghclo.org.
Talking with her is a bit tough---calling Eva a “whore” and “slut” made her angry. Maybe I should have used Saint?
She was late for the interview and wanted to stay away from Patti LuPone, a role she feels LuPone does not own.
Here goes . . .
You weren’t even born when Patti LuPone made a name for herself as Evita. Did you even know who Eva was?
No. I didn’t even know who Patti LuPone was.
Did you ever see any version of the show?
I saw a production at Toby’s Dinner Theater. This was a non-equity theater, and I grew up seeing shows there. I saw Evita when I was 10. I remember there was no coffin used at the opening. Eva Peron became a role I was interested in. My versions of stars were the people who appeared in that dinner theater.
Did you even know who María Eva Duarte was?
No. I had no idea who she was. I know now that she is still very prevalent in Argentina and some people see her as a saint. As an actor, I was fascinated to become her. She’s human and everyone has a different theory of who is she.
She was a whore, smart enough to use men and climb to the top.
[Irritated] I don’t call her that. Women are called whores and sluts because they are sexually free.
Many actresses have played Evita on stage, but the only one famous for the role is Patti LuPone. She owns the role. What are your concerns about making the role yours? Is that even possible?
Patti or anyone else has not gone into this “new” production. Others can own the role. I read books about Eva Peron; I watched her actual speeches on film. I did not watch the film starring Madonna. I am playing Evita honestly, and she and Che are very different in this production. She looks very young. I am simply trying to be Eva Person not Patti LuPone.
You’ve done Fame in China and Grease in Turkey. What was it like doing shows to audiences who don’t speak English?
Those people didn’t know what we are doing, even though the subtitles had subtitles. It was worse in China; jokes wouldn’t land until one or two minutes after we told them. They were challenged experiences.
When you come face-to-face with Eva, what’s the one question you’d ask her?
I want to know so much. [Pauses] The most important? I’d want to know if she really loved Juan Peron.