“Don’t cry for me Argentina…..” – that’s pretty much all I knew about the musical Evita heading into the show at ZACH Theatre. That and Madonna was in a movie by the same name (I didn’t see it). As a high school senior, my swing choir performed a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs and this iconic ballad was one of them. I had no idea what it meant, but we sang our little hearts out to it.
In a moving performance of Evita this past weekend, I understood it all. I was mesmerized by Madeline Trumble’s performance of the classy, yet cunning, Eva Peron. And as she stood on the balcony, asking her people of Argentina not to cheer for her, I understand the performance, and saw how powerful it was.
ZACH Theatre puts on another fantastic performance, starting this season with Evita. Evita is the story of Eva Peron, first lady of Argentina in the 1940s. Her rise to power at the age of 27 from very humble beginnings makes for a very interesting story, as it was originally developed into a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice in the 1970s. You would never think such a story could be compelling as a musical – but it is – so much so.
I’m not going to lie. You have to really pay attention to the story to fully understand what is going on – but the lyrics are smart and witty, they easily engage you throughout the show. If you are a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar – remember, I sang it in high school), you will easily recognize the flow of the music. The flow from ballad to rock happens quickly with this rock opera, but that is what I have always loved about Webber/Rice musicals.
The actress who portrays Evita, Madeline Trumble is fascinating – I thought I would love her as it seems Peron was a saint. But as the show goes on and you watch her manipulate from behind the scenes, you grow to be amazed and start to respect her. As I mentioned previously, the “ah-ha” moment came for me as she sang the opening number for Act II – “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” Her voice was soft yet powerful and I was totally mesmerized as I understood what she was meaning.
ZACH always does a terrific job in casting – Andrew Foote’s performance as Che (the narrator) flowed so naturally, he was always in the background moving the story along. He is a terrific singer and dancer – making sure we the audience was moving right along with him.
I went into this play not knowing what I was going to think about it. I honestly didn’t think I would be interested in it. But I wanted to see it as I was curious what it was all about. I got lost in the story and loved it. I fully recommend seeing it as a date night or with family (10 and up).
ZACH Theatre started this season with a great show. If you love musicals, you will enjoy Evita.