28/05/2016 - 18/06/2016
From the slums of Argentina to the Presidential mansion as First Lady.
TIM RICE and ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’s Tony Award®-winning musical returns at last!
Eva 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 — while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater’s most beautiful songs, including ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ and ‘High Flying, Adored’.
Don’t miss this stunning new production of EVITA with Direction by Richard Neame, Musical Direction by Zac Johns and Mark Bradley and choreography by Karen Ruske, this is sure to be “THE HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN”.
Evita, the crowning dramatic achievement of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice will be presented at the Bruce Mason Theatre from 28 May until 18 June 2016. After a spectacular season in Wellington this iconic musical is set to dazzle, bringing the true story of Eva Peron to life with over 40 top performers and spectacular new staging. An incredible performance that you’ll not want to miss…
Evita charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, from her humble beginnings through to the extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status which ultimately led her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’. Eva Peron won international acclaim and adoration from her own people as a champion of the poor, while glamour, power and greed made her the world’s first major political celebrity.
Told through a compelling score that fuses haunting chorales with exuberant Latin, pop and jazz influences, EVITA creates an arresting theatrical portrait as complex as the woman herself. Featuring some of the best loved songs in musical theatre, including ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, ‘You Must Love Me’ and ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’.
Bruce Mason Centre, The Promenade, Takapuna, Auckland
28 May – 18 June 2016
Tues-Sat 8pm, 4pm Sundays
Sat 11 June, 2pm
Heather Wilcock: Eva
Matthew Pike: Che
Emily Hermon: The Mistress
Anthony Cotton: Magaldi
Russell Dixon: Peron
Carla Camilleri, Samantha Campbell, Caitlin Houghton, Ashleigh Morgan, Gabby Smith, Caitlin Walker, Corazon Miller, Katie Horsley, Liz Reilly, Annabelle Harris, Rachel Strange, Nicolette Nes, Ally MacDonald-Bull, Louise Monson, Clinton Meneses, Horst Feldheauser, Daniel McLean, Andrew Papas,
Terrence Stapleton, Eric Ripley, Dwayne Mallo, Cameron Stables, Gerard Malgas, Sean MacFarlane, Simon Coles, Dave Torres, Travis McWalter, Justin Ghodes, Jesse Reynolds.
Paula Cross, Helen Marinovich, Nick MacQueen, Helen Brown, Deehan Morgado, Tiffany Utama.
William Abel, Olivia Bowes, Lucy Brewer, Alisa D’Mello, Adam Eastham, Dasha Golovkova, Scarlett Jacques, Molly Lewis, Lukas Maher, Alex Mills, Sarah Oldham, Mia Reid, Sophia Robinson, Reese Thomas, Janayah Wadsworth, Rian Wongsarot.
Theatre , Musical ,
Timely staging of Evita hits all the right notes
Review by Paul Simei-Barton 03rd Jun 2016
Post-war Argentine strongman Juan Peron and his glamorous wife Evita may have faded from our collective memory, but with America’s heartland falling under the spell of an unlikely saviour, a local revival of Evita couldn’t be better timed.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lush score and Tim Rice’s intelligent lyrics offer a provocative reflection on how a corrupt authoritarian regime inspires quasi-religious devotion from the downtrodden masses due to the charismatic allure of a first lady whose steely ambition seems to embody the deepest aspirations of the nation. [More]
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Experience her story while you can
Review by Leigh Sykes 29th May 2016
Eva Peron was the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. Her story is a rags to riches tale that also includes her personal and political machinations during her quest for power and fame. The story captured the imagination of Tim Rice when he heard a section of a radio show about Eva in 1973, and he eventually persuaded Andrew Lloyd Webber to join him in researching the story as the basis for a musical.
In 1976 a concept album was recorded with Julie Covington singing the role of Evita, and the response was amazing. The original production of the show opened in 1978, with Elaine Paige in the title role and closed in London over seven years and 3,176 performances later. Since then, the show has been performed around the world. Including lengthy stints on Broadway, in Spain and Brazil.
At the time of its first production the show was unusual in having no book. The entire story is told through music and lyrics that can rage from sophisticated and complex to heart-breaking. In common with a number of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s shows, the show gave us now iconic songs like ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ and ‘Oh What a Circus’.
Director Richard Neame’s production includes some echoes of the original London one and is staged on a simple but very effective set (designed by Stephen Robertson), allowing changes of location to take place quickly without interrupting the flow of the action. Neame moves the story forward confidently, offering us almost photographic images of the main events.
Tall columns flank the black performance space with archways framing the wings, often leaving the rest of the stage for the cast to fill. Evita’s story is told in flashback, starting with the announcement of her death in 1952. The tall columns create an effective cathedral-like atmosphere as Argentina mourns, and digital projection is used effectively to draw us into the scale of the country’s response.
As the Argentinian people are consumed in a paroxysm of grief, Che, our guide to the events that are unfolding, punctures the mood with ‘Oh What a Circus’. Matthew Pike is outstanding. He brings a balance of cynicism and admiration to the role of Che that helps us to see Eva’s journey from different perspectives.
Although the show as a whole tends to cultivate a neutrality about Eva and her political influence in particular, Pike as Che can afford to be subversive. He draws our attention to the ambiguities in Eva’s life while bringing attack and vigour to each song. He is a lithe and confident dancer, especially good in the tango sequence with Eva, and his singing is superb.
Having set the bar so high, the ensemble continues the good work through the rest of the opening sequence until we meet Eva Duarte (Heather Wilcock), soon to become the icon known as Evita. The role of Evita made Elaine Paige and Stephanie Lawrence musical theatre stars in the UK and further afield, and one might be forgiven for thinking that anyone looking to follow them might experience a slight amount of trepidation. Heather Wilcock shows no signs of anything but supreme confidence.
Her singing, especially in the iconic numbers, is technically and emotionally pure and engaging. She sings with power, precision and a real sense of the character. As Eva grows in power, so does Wilcock’s performance and she is particularly effective in the later stages of the story, as Eva struggles with ill health. As events start to unravel for Eva and Juan Peron, Wilcock infuses Eva’s pleas to be loved with exactly the right amount of pathos to allow us to empathise with this driven, yet enigmatic woman. Wilcock captures Eva’s iconic gestures (the raised forefinger; both arms out to her adoring public) authentically and powerfully, almost creating still images of important moments in time.
As Juan Peron, Russell Dixion has less to work with but does a wonderful job of making the character both powerful and sympathetic. His singing is splendid and he captures the ruthlessness of the time wonderfully well in ‘’The Art of the Possible’. The choreography (by Karen Ruske) in this section tells us everything we need to know about the power struggles in Argentina, and established Peron as a wily operator. Dixion’s chemistry with Wilcock creates a powerful force at the heart of the show and we feel for him when he is forced to address Eva’s worsening health.
In fact, all of the Principals are uniformly excellent. Emily Hermon, as Peron’s mistress, gives us a beautifully affecting performance of one of the best known songs from the show in ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’. Anthony Cotton, as Agustin Magaldi, Eva’s first conquest on her road to fame, oozes charm and confidence until the very moment he realises he has been manipulated so effectively by Eva.
The large ensemble numbers, such as ‘Buenos Aires’ and ‘A New Argentina’, fill the stage with colour and life and energy. The choreography incorporates aspects of Latin and other styles of movement to create an interesting movement vocabulary for the performers, capturing the power of the group in this particular place and time. The cast moves well and sings powerfully, enhancing the story told so wonderfully well by the Principals. There are one of two first night glitches with small aspects of costume, but the cast deals with all of these with confidence.
It is obvious that the show has been well-resourced, with its simple but very effective set and ravishing costumes (designed by Stephen Robertson), but it is the people that make the show and in this case the people are uniformly great at what they do. This production would stand up well on the London stage and I am left wishing there was a way for musical theatre in Auckland to find a space and an audience for long-running musicals in the same way as London and New York do. Auckland Musical Theatre obviously has the ability to fill such a space.
In the meantime, Evita is here for a limited time only, so make sure you experience her story while you can.
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