Thursday, June 5, 2014

Evita

To borrow from a Julie Bookman article in the musical's playbill, Evita is the story of "a common girl with uncommon ambition" whose drive led to becoming the First Lady of Argentina and one of the country's most beloved citizens—considered a living saint by many.


President Peron and Evita (Photo: Richard Termine)
President Peron and Evita (Photo: Richard Termine)

I remember the excitement when it was announced that Madonna would star in the movie Evita. I was beyond excited to go on a two week vacation to Argentina where I saw Casa Rosada and Eva Peron's tomb in Recoleta Cemetery. And "excitement" doesn't begin to describe what I felt when I knew that I had tickets to see Evita on stage at the Fox Theatre

Evita is playing at the Fox through Sunday, June 8, 2014. And there aren't a lot of chances to see it left. Atlanta is the 25th of 28 cities on this tour.


Evita and Che (Photo: Richard Termine)
Evita and Che (Photo: Richard Termine)
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about the performance was spectacular! Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical so deserved its Tony Award!

From the purposefully slow unlayering to eventually reveal the full stage, to the remarkable, high-energy stamina of the performers...this show captivates moment after moment after moment.

The actors, Caroline Bowman (Eva Peron), Josh Young (Che), Sean MacLaughlin (President Peron), and every other member of the cast, performed brilliantly. Their voices...perfection. Their dancing...perfection. Their acting...perfection.


Touring Cast of Evita (Photo: Richard Termine)
Touring Cast of Evita (Photo: Richard Termine)

The costumes were spot-on! The first gown that Eva wore to the balcony created a slight gasp as its sparkling glory was fully revealed. And costume after costume...true to the era. 

I didn't understand at first why Caroline was undressed on stage so often, but after you realize the vast number of costume changes, you get that it would have been a four-hour show if she'd returned backstage to change every time.

The lighting...oh, the lighting! The lighting is exquisite. It exactingly adds to the overall performance, yet could stand on its own as award-worthy.

Set design, of this caliber, is an art in and of itself. And the set designer(s) of Evita are indeed talented. I believe I was most impressed with what they did with the balcony...I love those kinds of surprises! (No, I'm not going to spoil the surprise...you'll have to see it for yourself.)

And I want to give the orchestra a virtual standing ovation for playing so beautifully. I would love to know more about them.


Casa Rosada (Photo: Travis S. Taylor)
Casa Rosada (Photo: Travis S. Taylor)
All of the photos in this post, except for the one above and below, are by Richard Termine—and beautiful photographs they are. The one above, even though not the greatest photo, is one I made of Casa Rosada, 10 years ago. 

It was moving and quite special to see a live performance of what happened on that very same balcony so many decades ago. I distinctly remember sauntering around the palace...in no particular hurry to be anywhere, wanting to soak in as much as we could. Special, indeed...


Travis S. Taylor in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Travis S. Taylor in Buenos Aires, Argentina

No, no...I'm not pretending to be on the balcony of Casa Rosada. That's just me coming in from the balcony of our hotel in Buenos Aries. 

It was October 25, 2004, a glass of champagne before we were on the way to the Teatro Colon—the fourth largest opera house in the world—to celebrate my friend Jay's birthday. We'd been on a behind-the-scenes tour of the opera house earlier that day. 

It wasn't even my birthday and I had such an amazing time!


First Lady Eva Peron (Photo: Richard Termine)
First Lady Eva Peron (Photo: Richard Termine)
I'm no stranger to the stage—especially the stage of the Fox Theatre—so when I say this is one of the best shows I've seen...it's one of the best shows I've seen! If you've not yet been or do not yet have your tickets to see Evita, get them! Treat yourself to one of the best shows you'll have seen in the last decade. 

And, before I step away from the stage, here are a few highlights from the 2012 Broadway performance...


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