The key to a terrific “Evita” is, well, a terrific Evita, and this production has one in Monica Ramirez.
Not only does Ramirez have a beautiful voice, she’s got the charisma the character of Eva must have. Ramirez is both elegant and manipulative. There is a fascinating calmness at the center of her performance.
Ambitious, determined to be loved by the masses and ultimately corrupt, Eva Peron became first lady of Argentina and considered running for vice president before cancer killed her at 33 in 1952.
She and her husband bankrupted the country, but Eva made sure she looked good doing it.
Her relationships with the two men in the show — her partner in power, Juan Peron (Enrique Acevedo), and her social conscience, Che (Omar Lopez-Cepero) — bristle with chemistry.
Che, loosely based on revolutionary Che Guevara, is the narrator of the story and Lopez-Cepero gives him an easygoing, funny persona. Acevedo’s Peron is quite the opposite, with ramrod straight posture and a haughty air about him.
Both do a great job and, like Ramirez, have terrific voices.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote “Evita” in the 1970s, and it has a nonconformist spirit to it. Generals take power by playing musical chairs. Eva says farewell to a dozen lovers through a revolving hotel door, working her way through Argentina’s powerful men. Che and Eva waltz across the stage.
Director Marc Robin and lighting designer Paul Black have given the production a glowing sheen. Black’s lighting design is dazzling and works beautifully with the set, designed by Charles S. Kading.
Costumes, designed by Kurt Alger, and hair and makeup, by Anthony Laskoskie Jr., are lush and perfectly suit the story.
And music director A. Scott Williams brings the pop score to life.
Kudos to Marc Robin for fitting all the pieces together in such a classy way.¶