Ricky Martin is bringing
them in at “Evita!”
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
score for “Evita” is really gorgeous. Although the musical is most-often
associated with the plaintive “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” there are many more.
The excellent Company opens with “Requiem,” then the beautiful songs tumble
out. There is the fast-paced, “Buenos Aires,” an amusing “Goodnight and Thank
You,” the melodic “The Art of the Possible,” the sensual,“I’d Be Surprisingly
Good for You,” the spirited “A New Argentina” and the lyrical “High Flying
Except for Elena Roger
as Eva Duarte Peron, the very young woman who rose from poverty to become the
charismatic First Lady of Argentina, the show is sung beautifully by Michael
Cerveris, the best Peron I’ve ever heard and seen, and Ricky Martin, who is
handsome, fun and sexy as Che. Also wonderful in his part is Max Von Essen as
Magaldi, the night club singer who intones the number “Oh This Night of a
“Evita” is directed by
Michael Grandage with a formality not used in the original. The elegant set and costume design by
Christopher Oram, with Neil Austin’s spot lighting and Richard Mawbey’s very
important Wig and Hair design, all contribute to a very good-looking
production. Perhaps the most dazzling feature is Rob Ashford’s choreography
that uses stylized versions of Tango and Waltz to tell the story.
And what a story it is. When Eva, age 17 in 1943, and Peron hook up,
fireworks begin. Eva is very modern in her approach to women and makes sure
they get the vote. While acquiring jewels, she helps the poor and downtrodden.
There are still to this day charities in her name. When I was a child her
picture was on every magazine cover. Her life was cut short at the age of 33
from terminal cancer. Elena Roger, a tiny woman, almost too small for the role,
works hard, but her voice in the upper register is thin as air, unpleasant and over-miked.
It is, as the King of Siam used to say, “a puzzlement!”
the Marquis Theatre on Broadway.