The musical’s dramatic beginning laid out the groundwork to Evita Perón’s life, and her rise to power from actress to political leader.
“Come and see it,” said Kiersten Farley, the actress who played Evita.
Evita is a Broadway Musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It showed from April 7 to April 15 in the Dassance Fine Arts Center. The length of the musical was about two hours and 15 minutes.
The storyline is believable as the performance opens with an introduction of Evita’s funeral then transitions into her early childhood. The musical stays true to her biography. When Evita was 15 years old, she decided to pursue an acting career, and set out to Buenos Aires with her first love, Agustin Magaldi, who was played by Soulange Beaudet.
As Evita advanced in her artistic career, she met many men.
Michael Arvay, who played Che, expressed the disdain that many people in his position felt towards Evita and her past as an actress. Che lured around every corner to chime in on Evita’s shortcomings throughout her career, even after she met her future husband, and leader of Argentina, Colonel Juan Perón, played by Gary Sonneberger.
The characters in this musical were easy to understand, each of them played their part according to historical accounts that can be read online, or watched in a documentary. I didn’t understand who Che was until after Kirsten Kennedy, theatre director at CF, explained who he was.
“Che’s character is the narrator,” Kennedy said. “He represents every man from Argentina who opposes the Peróns.”
Arvay played a good narrator, he started out strong in the beginning, and kept a strong voice throughout. He flaked a little bit in the song Rainbow Tour after Evita’s Rainbow High. He did keep character, however, all the way to the song, Lament that included Eva and the mourners.
Sonneberger played Juan’s character well. He backed up the role of a loving husband when he defended his wife’s position to the opposing military. He expressed his disappointment when the oligarchy disapproved Evita’s election as vice president and he also displayed care and distraught for her as she was perishing.
The performance’s dialogue was believable and easy to follow; more so if one read Evita’s biography beforehand.
The special effects were well thought out. The backdrop had a mild sky blue hue, and vibrant, yet easy to look at green, that didn’t hurt my eyes. The colors and the stage lights didn’t distract from the actors’ and ensembles’ performance. The pictures of Evita’s life that were displayed onscreen on both sides of the stage were also helpful to grasp what her image was like.
The orchestra did a great job in staying true to the composition written for the musical. When Evita was beginning to get ill, the music paralleled the emotional buildup of Evita’s final goodbyes.
The pace of the performance was on time. The first act was over before I knew it. After the 15 minute intermission, the second act moved right on course. However, the last 15 minutes seemed rushed. The music sped up to finish, but the whole performance ended with a great applause.
The overall rating is a 4.5. I would pay to see the performance because it stayed true to historical documents and the music was good to listen to.
“I thought it was fantastic,” said Sterling Beaudet, a CF student. “One of my brothers is actually in the play, so I came to see him tonight. I thought all of the performances were fantastic, I thought the lighting and the set design was amazing, and I really appreciated that we had a live orchestra besides the visual effects. I was very glad to see it.”
Story by: Rosa de Saron Caro
Photos by: Delaney VanNest