“Evita” at the Orpheum Theatre: With the Power of the People

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Few people in the world rise from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, and very few have done it as quickly as Evita Perón. The snappy and decisive Evita began as a poor girl in Junín, but soon moves to Buenos Aires and sleeps—I mean, sneaks—her way into Argentina’s high society and the presidential mansion. Innovative as it is dazzling, this intrigue-filled show will keep you riveted. Come to see the show and woman of the hour at the Orpheum through February 2. Evita!

Congratulations to Eva Perón (Caroline Bowman) and Che (Josh Young) for two wonderful, contrasting performances. Eva (diminutively known as Evita) is a marvelously complex character, fluidly navigating the halls of power. The audience gets the chance to explore of life of someone who after her death had the country of Argentina asking: “What kind of goddess has lived among us?” Obviously she had some powers, for in the first act, Eva’s hair changed magically to blonde (in actuality, Evita decided to bleach her hair in Buenos Aires, and continued to do so for the rest of her life). Che is a bold narrator with a singing ability that spans from gritty to ethereal. His deep questions guide Evita, as well as the audience, through an emotional show. Fun fact: according to the lyricist Tim Rice, the narrator “Che” is actually not representative of the revolutionary Che Guevara. A coincidence, then?

Strong support came from the ensemble, who, led by Ian Liberto proved themselves world-class tango dancers. The style and technique was flawless and entrancing, capturing perfectly the lively spirit of Argentina.

One contention keeps this show from its full potential. According to biographers, the story of the musical may not be accurate. Among other points, they say that instead of running away with a famous, married singer, Evita actually went with her mother to Buenos Aires. Whatever the truth is, it just goes to show that Evita will remain a mystery for the years to come.

Some of the greatest innovation of this show is in the lighting (by designer Neil Austin). From the hazy pall of “Requiem” to the blended orange and gold of “And the Money Kept Rolling In,” the lights create a bubble of a different world. During the iconic song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” the stage took a heavenly form. Evita stood on a balcony, and the light behind her seemed to come from beyond the stage and the theater. Such artistry is something to remember. A grand edifice of the presidential palace complimented the lighting and infused the show with the theme of power.

This is real. The story of Evita and Argentina is a part of our past, and since history is destined to repeat itself, the story of Evita is also in our future. It is daring. It is new. And it will force you to ask yourself: What would I do with the power of the people? So now, I present to you, the one, the only, the everything: Evita Perón!