In a mere 33 years Maria Eva Duarte de Peron crawled out of abject poverty to First Lady and Spiritual Leader of Argentina. Her short life was filled with passion and controversy that captured a nation and touched the entire world. When, in 1952, she finally fell to the ravages of cancer the streets of Buenos Aires filled with millions of mourners. Later Eva Peron’s fascinating life captured the imaginations of both Sir Timothy Miles Bindon “Tim” Rice lyricist and author and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber composer and impresario of musical theatre. That resulted in the production and release of a concept album entitled “Evita.” Released in 1976 the album featured Julie Covington singing the title role and the album soon became an international hit.
By 1978 “Evita” became an awarded winning musical opening in London’s West End to rave reviews. The first “Evita” was directed by Hal Prince and starred Elaine Page as Eva, David Essex as Che and Joss Ackland as Peron. In less than a year it worked its way to Broadway where it starred Patti LuPone as Eva, Mandy Patinkin as Che and Bob Gunton as Peron. It won a staggering seven Tony Awards in 1980. For more than three decades now “Evita” has been produced and enjoyed literally around the world. “Evita” has truly become one of the true classics of musical theatre. And now “Evita” has returned to Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre.
The tour team includes director Seth Sklar-Heyn, choreographer Chris Baliey, Tony Award winning scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram and Tony Award winning lighting designer Neil Austin. Caroline Bowman stars as Eva Peron, Josh Young as Che and Sean MacLaughlin as Peron. Caroline Bowman earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Penn State University and has appeared in “Wicked,” “Kinky Boots,” Spamalot” and “Grease.” Josh Young has appeared in “Jesus Christ Super Star.” “Les Miserables” and “West Side Story.” Sean MacLaughlin has appeared in “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Bombay Dreams” and “The Women in White.”
As impressive as the credits may be the truth is in how the show looks and sounds at the Pantages and the one word answer to that is simply RIVITING. When you start with a story as fascinating as that of the truly amazing Maria Eva Duarte de Peron, add the musical genius of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and the star power of the phenomenal touring cast you emerge with a breath taking genuine winner at every level. The only negative I could fine is that in my personal view the second act is just a wee bit too long. I first saw “Evita” in Chicago in the early nineteen eighties and it never left my mind. Then I saw it again at the Pantages and it shall remain vivid in my heart and mind for the rest of my time here on earth. Yes folks it is that good and not just because the performance and music are the best there is, that is as expected, but because the story itself is so utterly compelling.
“Evita” is at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles (Hollywood), California 90028 now through November 10, 2013. Performance times are: Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 PM, Saturday at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM and Sunday at 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM. Ticket prices start at only $25.00. Reservations and information are available online at: HollywoodPantages.com, by calling 1-800-982-2787 or at the Pantages Box Office.
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