Monday, April 23, 2012

You Must Haunt Me

There are two big questions people ask you when you say that you just saw the new revival of EVITA:  How is Ricky Martin, the pop star, who plays Che (Very Good) and then they ask, Is Elena Roger, who plays Eva Peron, really that bad (No, she is actually very good as well) I was so looking forward to seeing this production for a couple of things: EVITA is probably one of my favorite scores of all time, and one first ones I memorized in its entirety. Plus, I had never seen a production of it, because I was still on the other side of the world when it was playing on Broadway. Bottom line: this production does not disappoint at all, and may even be the Best Musical Revival this season. (Maybe. I change my answer to "Follies" every couple of hours) It is lavishly directed by Michael Grandase in a churascurio tone, and it soars when it needs to be. Surely, Sir Andrew's score has a lot of deficiencies, but it's still, in my opinion, his best. Rob Ashford's choreography is beautiful to look at but it sometimes crosses to overkill. This is a dancey Evita, for sure. Ricky Martin, as I said earlier, is very good, but his performance is saddled by the blankness of his character. While he moves well, and sings well, we do not really understand his character because, essentially he has none. As for Elena Roger, I admit I have been a bit harsh on her.  Her first act was disappointing for me, there were a lot of high notes she just screeches, but something really magical happens as she sings "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" to open the second act: her singing and acting became nuanced, she brings so much theatricality to her singing that it took me by surprise. I was literally stunned by its beauty. Even on the throwaway song "You Must Love Me," there is an shading, a layer in that song that I never saw in Madonna's rendition when she introduced it in the film. By the end of the show, I was in tears for her and with her. Her Evita isn't big, it isn't campy, it's real. And as I think about it now, it still haunts me.

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