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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The first question asked about the musical “Evita” is about the actress playing the lead and, in the touring company opening night at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center, Caroline Bowman takes command and makes the role her own. Her transition from a lower class 15 year old girl to the first lady of Argentina climbing the ladder by sleeping with men who can help her is done with more her acting and presence than with wigs, makeup and costumes. Her voice handles one of the most difficult theatre musical scores with the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the words by Tom Rice and with the aid of an excellent sound system you hear almost every word. Along with a voice and acting ability Bowman is a good dancer, with what may be called ‘Cyd Charisse’ legs, showing them at many opportune times in slit skirt outfits. In her dancing duet number, “Waltz For Eva and Cher “ she gets a great chance to show off her dancing skills and legs.

Josh Young, playing the role of Che, is a dynamite performer who takes the role and the songs a level higher than a performer normally would and his command on the stage is riveting.

Sean MacLaughlin, as Juan Peron presents a striking figure. He does not stand out as much as his two co-stars mainly because his role is not written that way. Krystina Alabado, as Peron’s mistress pre Eva, shines in her solo, “Another Suitcase In Another Hall”.

With a singing/dancing ensemble of 22 plus 7 traveling musicians and 12 local musicians the score gets to shine in such familiar numbers as “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, “Buenos Aires” along with the lesser known numbers and many times the choreography, by Chris Bailey based on this production’s original by Rob Ashford, is a standout.

This is a dark show more than in its story but also in its sets, lighting and costumes, with the exception of Evita’s many different colors of white outfits, and its ending but as musical theatre it has become a classic that holds up 38 years after its original production.
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