Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reviving Evita

At a long-awaited outing with friends, we saw the new Broadway version of Evita.


Overall, though it was staged and performed with skill, I still have to agree with this piece, which suggests it doesn't measure up to the original. I saw the original in 1981, I believe, and by that time Patti Lupone was no longer in it. This time around, as it was a matinee, we saw the alternate, Christina DeCicco, not Elena Roger. DeCicco's acting was excellent, though her voice at times was a bit shrill; on the other hand, is not the character supposed to be shrill?

I'm not sure, also, whether Mandy Patinkin was still in it as Che/narrator when I saw the original, and in any case my memories are surely filtered by having listened to a tape of the original many times in the intervening decades. While Ricky Martin's voice is beautiful, his rendition is less forceful than the original, as when Che demands "What's new Argentina? Your nation, which once had the second largest gold reserves is now bankrupt" etc. I recall in the original Che is close to raging as he says this, and then gets knocked on the head and carted off by secret-police goons. Much calmer stuff this time around.

More broadly, I thought the choreography in the original was more dramatic, as when the upper class and military march across the stage in "Peron's Latest Flame" (see below), rather than standing around. Still, having said all that, I recommend seeing the current Evita. All in all, it's still very good.


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