Even if you have seen Evita before, the national tour of the 2012 Broadway revival will exceed your expectations.
The classic musical by Andrew Llyod Webber and Tim Rice made Patti LuPone a star as Argentina’s Eva Perón, who became a cultural icon for the nation. At its core, the musical explores hope for the people of Argentina as it tells the story of Eva’s rise from a commoner to a political figure and fashionista that is adored by the masses.
A bit critical of her at times, the show tells her tale through the eyes of Che (Josh Young), a mysterious character with hints of a political future. It begins with Eva’s (Caroline Bowman) funeral before telling of her assent to stardom as an actress by traveling to Buenos Aires as a singer’s mistress. She uses her wits and appeal to achieve success until she meets Perón, a rising politician, at a benefit concert to help those devastated by a recent earthquake. He becomes president, and she becomes a saint.
One of Webber’s strongest scores, the music is a fusion of various styles that blend together well. Featuring tender ballads and rock songs, the music is moving and evocative. Bolstered by the Rice’s lyrics, Christopher Oram’s set, and Neil Austin’s lighting design, the story unfolds wonderfully. The visually stunning choreography by Rob Ashford captivates and elevates an already splendid production.
As Eva, Bowman makes the intricate vocals look effortless. Whether she is singing a softer number like “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” or belting one of the heavier songs such as “A New Argentina,” she is vocally flawless and mesmerizing. Her take on Eva, while solid, is a more muted take on the strong-willed character, which may or may not be to one’s liking.
The star of the show is Young. He brings a charisma to Che that is partly rebellious and partly compassionate, and that mixture resonates with the audience. From the moment he sings “Oh, What a Circus,” this take on the role gives the show a distinct flavor that works well by displaying the hope for a better tomorrow that the character desires. He provides a steady backbone to the show.
Part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta series, Evita runs through June 8, 2014 at the Fox Theatre. For more information on the show or series, please visit http://www.broadwayinatlanta.com/. Tickets are available at the Fox Theatre box office, online or by phone at 855-285-8499.The show’s run time is approximately two and half hours with an intermission.
– Kenny Norton