Don’t cry for me Argentina, probably the most famous line in all of musical theatre history. This is of course the signature song lyric from Evita, by Andrew Loyd Webber and Tim Rice. Currently Zach Theatre in Austin is staging a gorgeous production of this time honored piece of musical theatre royalty. Evita is the story of Eva Peron the most famous first lady Argentina has ever known. The show follows her rise from Chorus Girl to Wife of the President. This production is staged, directed, and choreographed by Nick Demos who not only has created a beautiful show but a show with depth and humanity interwoven with glitz and glam.
The show is narrated by the character Che, who doesn’t really have a solid place in the story other than to act as the antagonist who questions the motives of the title character Eva Peron. Asking the audience if she is truly the saint the people think she is or if she is using them as a means to gain what she wants. In Zach’s Production Che’ is played by Andrew Foote who not only makes you love his character but rocks the rafters with his amazing vocals and keeps you on the edge of your seat with his easy and sly demeanor. Partnering with Foote to tell this layered and wonderfully woven story is Austin’s Prince Charming of Theatre Matthew Redden as Peron himself. Redden is a classically handsome man perfect for the role of the suave former soldier turned president. Redden as Peron is strong and moving, it is easy to see why the Argentinian people fell in love with him as their savior.
However the entire cast is not as strong in this production, Madeline Trumble as Eva Peron is not my favorite casting choice. Trumble’s voice is not right for this role. I felt as though she was screaming or screeching throughout the entire show. This is a role for a strong bold voice and Trumble’s dulcet soprano tones are too high and too soft for this rock opera score.
This however is not enough to tarnish this shows beauty. The scenic design by Christopher Oram, is unparalleled! The towering balconies and gorgeous paintings are perfection for this show. Paired with the lighting design by Michelle Habeck this show is a variable feast for the eyes. Top that off with the gorgeous costumes by Court Watson this show is more than beautiful.
Because of this show’s strong male cast members and the outstanding production design, partnered with excellent direction I give this show 4 out of 5 stars. A treat not to be missed just be prepared for the high frequencies of the title role.
Evita runs through November 1, 2015 for more information and for tickets log onto http://www.zachtheatre.org