There is a treasured moment in ‘Evita’ that lets one believe in the magic of the theater all over again.
It is that moment where Eva Peron, the woman known for becoming famous for doing absolutely nothing, sits high above the balcony of the Casa Rosada and belts out, ‘Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.’ This to me is what going to the theater is all about.
‘Evita’ sings the story of Eva Peron who is the first lady of Argentina. Peron finds herself out of the slums and into dreams of finding fame and fortune in Buenos Aires. Peron finds herself climbing the social ladder after falling in love with colonial Juan Domingo Peron. After becoming first lady, Eva finds herself shunning the upper class and not fulfilling her promises.
Che is the cynical narrator of this rock opera musical, who questions Mrs. Peron’s true intentions.
‘Evita’ works because Eva is one of those historic figures that you love to hate. She is a villain, a fame monster – a Kim Kardashian. You do not want to root for her. You have no apathy for her. However, she is entertaining to watch.
Caroline Bowman (at some performances) portrays our villain Eva, with some sentiment and makes Eva her own instead of a caricature. Bowman shows the mortality in Eva Peron, which allows for her character to be a bit more tragic than expected. Bowman’s singing was effortless and strong, without being screechy and over-the-top. Bowman is a bona-fide star in the making, which is evident by her performance here. She shines on stage like the brighest Buenos Aires star.
In my humble opinion though, the real reason for seeing ‘Evita’ is to see Josh Young give all as our narrator Che. Young, who was a 2012 Tony Award nominee, was born to play this role with his charming charisma, sultry good looks and natural stage presence.
‘Evita,’ while not the most impeccable musical out there, is genuinely engaging, awe-inspired and fun to watch. There is something for everyone in the course of this musical: singing, stunning choreography, glamorous costuming and all around some of the most beautiful sets you will see on a Broadway stage. The lack of a heroine to root for is the only thing missing. You will leave the theater, not with a smile on your face, but with an appreciation for the past and the future of our culture.
‘Evita’ is now playing at the Kravis Center through April 13th. Check out kravis.org for more details.