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Evita, the musical story of Argentina's Eva Perón, opens mid-January in Denver

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The fascinating rags-to-riches, poor-to-powerful life story of Eva Perón, former First Lady of Argentina during the 1940s and early 50s, is told in the Broadway musical Evita playing January 15-26 at The Denver Center for Performing Arts in Denver.

Eva was the fifth child born illegitimately in 1919 to Juan Duarte who eventually abandoned his mistress and children, leaving them with no inheritance before his accidental death when Eva was just six years old.

As a teenager, Eva found work in Buenos Aires as an actress and was able to support herself by the time she met Colonel Juan Perón in 1944, a meeting that would change her life forever.

Perón at the time was a political and military leader who had helped overthrow the civilian government in 1943. He became president of Argentina after marrying Eva in 1945. Together, they were a powerful political couple, with Eva working tirelessly for women’s rights, labor rights and improving the lives of the poor people of her country.

The people loved and revered her, addressing her in the affectionate “Evita.” Her skill as an actress coupled with her childhood of poverty enabled her to give heartfelt speeches with which her followers (descamisados - “shirtless ones”) identified. She seduced the crowds and became a living legend in her country.

In 1951, she ran for then turned down the office of vice president to her husband’s presidency due to opposition from the wealthy populace, the military and her battle with cervical cancer, which ultimately claimed her life the following year. She was only 33 years old.

In 1979, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote the play Evita, which won seven Tony awards. Now the first new Broadway production of the musical since it debuted more than 30 years ago is touring the country and getting rave reviews. Directed by Tony Award nominee Michael Grandage and choreographed by Tony winner Rob Ashford, the second Evita plays the Buell Theatre January 15-26. Performance dates are Tuesday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and another January 16 at 2 p.m.

For tickets, call 303-893-4100 or visit www.denvercenter.org. Active and retired military personnel and their immediate families may attend the matinee performance of Evita for $25 on January 16 at 2pm. Visit www.denvercenter.org/military for more information.

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