Evita follows the life of Eva Perόn (played by Cynthia Daugherty), second wife of Argentine President Juan Perόn (played by Leon Zionts). The story begins with Eva’s young adulthood as an actress and radio star and (according to the story) the bed hopping that eventually led her to meet Juan Perόn. The story chronicles Eva’s involvement in helping Perόn get elected and the hypnotic love the Argentine people had for her. Throughout the show, the part narrator, part antagonist Che (Played by Jeffery Way) was always just within eyesight giving looks of disapproval and adding contrast and contradiction to the story of the beloved Eva Perόn.
Of the entire cast, Daugherty and Way were the two standouts. Daugherty looked and played the part of Eva quite well. As you watched Eva age throughout the show, Daugherty adjusted the way she carried herself to fit that of a maturing character. I must also say that her wardrobe was enjoyable; everything from the fun dresses to the elegant pant suits was spot on. I also appreciated the amount of emotion she poured into the character; of anyone on stage, she was usually the most believable. Way continually drew the attention and energy of the stage toward him at all times. The way he lurked around during the crowd gatherings and the violent movements of his hands while he sang projected perfectly the ferocious passion of Che’s character.
Whenever a musical set in Latin America is mentioned, I instantly think of vibrant wardrobes and sharp, well executed dance routines. I feel as though the choreography and dancing is something that should really be an integral part of this show. It seemed as though it was last in the list of priorities, as if the dance numbers had only been practiced a few times; dancers were late, the movements were not sharp and it was apparent on several of the actor’s faces that they were either thinking too hard as to what was coming next or watching the person in front of them for cues.
Unfortunately the show also suffered from technical issues. There were several microphone mishaps, where either the microphone was turned up too high to where you could hear the crackling feedback of the mic rubbing against something, or the wrong mic was turned on all together and you could not hear the correct person speaking their lines. There were even times that the orchestra was drowning out the singers during the major musical numbers, not to fault the orchestra. When things were working properly, I enjoyed most of the musical numbers, though nothing particularly blew me away.
I will say that I enjoyed the set designed to look like an old adobe estate with functioning balconies. The structure also had several moving walls in order to designate areas of the stage as a bedroom or outdoors. However, it was a shame that the cast did not use the empty space during the smaller numbers. Much of the time it the audience was just watching two people sing at each other without taking so much as a dramatic step, all except Jeffery Way who was animated and moving throughout the show.
This show and the story it has to tell are truly interesting and could be absolutely captivating if executed properly. I saw this show during their opening night, and hope that the week since then has been spent fixing bugs and sharpening routines in order to avoid mishaps. Again, I feel like this show should be a dazzling display of music and choreography and I was simply disappointed in the execution.
Performance Date: November 13, 2014