Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Evita"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2008 by Tony Annicone

"Evita"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The third show of Theatre by the Sea's 75th season is Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's, "Evita" which is about Eva Peron, bit actress, mistress and wife to Argentine dictator Juan Peron. The show is a collage of Eva's rise to power and her early death. It is a look at a woman loved by the poor, hated by the rich and powerful and who wasn't above taking matters into her capable hands, whether it be charity funds, colonels on the rise to political power or, finally political power itself. Director/choreograper Amiee Turner and her musical director, Aaron McAllister pick topnotch cast members to fill these roles, including 3 talented children, leading the audience to give them a rousing curtain call at the close of the show.

Amiee's blocking and choreography of this rock opera is wonderful as is the musical direction of Aaron who also plays lead keyboards and conducts his orchestra. (Trumpet solos by Taylor Temple and drum solo by Mike Sartini are standouts in this show.) Some of the many dances include tango by Caroline Cuseo and Matthew Wagner, and group dancing excellently executed by the chorus who plays multiple roles of aristocrats, soldiers and peasants. Outstanding group numbers include "A New Argentina" and "And the Money Kept Rolling In". The harmonic sound of the vocalists is outstanding, too.

Heading this huge cast is Anne Brummel as Evita. She played the part on the National Tour. Anne creates this character and shows the transition from her younger days as a poor girl to her dying scene at the close of the show. Her rendition of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" is lovely. Her other numbers include the bouncy "Buenos Aires" to the seductive "I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You" with Peron to the exuberant "Rainbow High" to the final lament as she is dying. One of the best Che's around is Martin Sola. The character is the narrator and moves in and out of scenes while commenting on her behavior. Martin's magnificent tenor voice soars in his many numbers including the gorgeous, "High Flying Adored" to the raucous "Oh What A Circus" and "The Money Kept Rolling In" with the chorus. Martin and Anne have a very funny number called "Goodnight and Thank You" where her lovers keep appearing. (One of the funniest lovers is played by Brian Bailey who has his shirt caught in his fly.) Kenneth Linsley plays the underwritten role of Juan Peron. His songs include "The Art of the Possible" where the generals play musical chairs to determine who be in charge, "Rainbow Tour" and "She is a Diamond".

Timothy Reid shows off his fantastic, strong tenor voice as Magaldi, Evita's first lover who she uses to get into show business. (I appeared in this show with Tim, twenty-two years ago this month with Liz Callaway as Eva Peron. He played a child in that show.) His top notes in "On This Night of a Thousand Stars" soar with his fabulous tenor voice as he delivers the goods in this role. The beautiful blue eyed, Perri Lauren who plays the mistress gets to show off her gorgeous soprano voice in "Another Suitcase in Another Hall". The chorus shows off their voices in many numbers including the spine tingling "A New Argentina", which closes the first act, "The Rainbow Tour", "Santa Evita" and the rousing money song. (The three children appearing in this show are Rebekah Philip, Celeste Richards and Grace Romanello. Their voices are heard in several numbers but the children's number "Please Gentle Eva" is very sweet and tender.) The last show of the season is the blockbuster hit, "The Producers". (Also before the show be sure to experience the delicious food at Bistro by the Sea. They have many specials on their varied menu. I had the Veal Parmigiana which melted in my mouth. Duane Crowe is the chef who creates all these splendid items.) So for a summer treat, be sure to head down to Matunuck to see "Evita".

EVITA ( 16 July - 3 August)
THEATRE BY THE SEA
364 Cards Pond Road, MATUNUK RI
1 (401) 782-TKTS

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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