Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Choreographed by Rob Ashford
Directed by Michael Grandage
2013 National Tour
Chicago producer Broadway In Chicago
At the Oriental Theatre
Rousing, well sung national tour of Evita still thrills
Caroline Bowman and Josh Young lead a stellar cast in a new production of the 1979 Evita. The results is a most enjoyable, well danced and nicely enunciated pop opera: Evita. I can’t remember liking Evita as much as I did this smart, tightly-flowing production. Evita still rouses audiences with its pop opera panache. This is an Equity tour.
Evita is Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber’s popular pop opera rich in tango style South American rhythms that has became a world-wide hit over the last thirty-five years. It ran initially in London for 2900 performances and 1557 performances on Broadway beginning in 1979. The core song, “Don’t Cry For me Argentina” has emerged as one of musical theatre’s modern classics. New audiences appreciated the1996 film with Madonna and Antonio Banderas. Michael Grandage directed and Rob Ashford choreographs the new national tour. The results were a stunning spectacle. Evita looks and sounds like the original show with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.
I’m not an avid Lloyd Webber fan and I’m seen Evita butchered in regional theatre, so I was pleasantly surprised by this worthy production.Caroline Bowman’s Eva Paron was marvelous. She has the voice to land her numbers and the stage presence to command a scene. Her natural beauty and charisma wins us instantly. Her emotionally gripping and clearly enunciated delivery of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” was breathtaking. She delivered a smooth polished Evita.
Josh Young’s expert, Manny Patinkin-sounding voice landed his difficult role (Che) as he is forever on stage commenting, narrating and participating on the epic story of Eva Paron’s life and time. Young’s energy and macho persona typifies the working class patron Evita championed. Sean MacLaughlin, while a tad young, has the look and swagger of Peron and he nicely fits with Bowman’s Eva to form a wonderful Argentinean first family.
The production sounded excellent with zesty tangos; and the ensemble delivered well formed dances and fine choral harmonies to underscore the Webber melodies. The Latin flavor worked nicely on the stately balcony-oriented set.
I like this show as the cast got everything out of Webber’s score. While not a ‘great’ show, this production of Evita is as good anEvitaas you’ll find. If you’ve never seen this classic pop opera show, get to the Oriental Theatre soon, it only runs until October 6, 2013. You’ll cry for Argentina.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2013.
For more info checkout the Evita page at theatrinchicago.com
At the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, tickets $27 – $95, Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays at 2 & 7:30 pm, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through October 6, 2013