“Evita” at the Orpheum Theatre: SHOUTS OF “PERÓN” IN THE STREETS

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Evita, one of the highly anticipated shows to come along this theater season, captures the true seductive yet inspiring spirit of Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón. Mrs. Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world whilst her greed, oversized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic downfalls. I had no prior knowledge of the show but needless to say, once the curtain fell and the last note of the ending song was sung, I left the theater quite impressed at the whole ordeal. 

The bones of production, the lighting and the set itself, were absolutely beautiful. The lighting throughout the piece of work looked as if it was natural sunlight, which is extremely difficult to pull off. The set was massive and looked historically correct throughout. The actors were illuminated with a halo of brilliance which only added to their exceptional performance. They also incorporated usage of large video screens during the beginning in aid to the essence of mourning over the death of Eva. It added to the aura of melancholy sadness which settled over Argentina when Eva Perón passed on.

Another excellent element of the show was the dancing that occurred. Evita contained some of the most impressive dancing sequences I’ve seen within a show. It was electric, fast-paced and played with the storyline so well I just had to marvel at how brilliant it was. Thanks to an extensive group of choreographers including the likes of Rob Ashford, Seth Sklar-Heyn and Chris Bailey, the dancing added another layer of wonder to the production. It helped with the telling of the story whilst adding a sort of spice that could only be explained as a parallel to the very feel of South American life.

Another impressive factor were the very voices and actors that were in the show itself. Caroline Bowman, whom plays the luminescent Eva, was stunning with the way she embodied the alluring spirit of Mrs. Perón. Caroline’s acting as well as vocal talent exceeded my expectations for the show which was a pleasant surprise. The two lead males were quite impressive as well. Che, seen as a narrator of sorts, as well as President Perón were splendid in the way they portrayed their characters and their vocal abilities. Che, who is played by the gifted Josh Young, guided the audience along the Perón’s journey right to Eva’s untimely death which happened in 1952. Che offers another perspective on Eva, one of bitter realism. We see him throughout the show as almost her conscience or a form of higher power looking on her actions within her lifetime. 

All in all, I was extremely pleased by the authentic and beautifully executed work of art that is Evita.