Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s EVITA opens Thursday at the Manatee Players and runs through October 7.
EVITA, the story of ambitious, charismatic Eva Duarte, opens in a Buenos Aires cinema when the death is announced of Eva Peron, née Duarte, and affectionately known by the people of Argentina as "Evita".
Che Guevara, acts as narrator throughout this story which follows the unlikely, real-life drama, of a woman of doubtful virtue who became the wife of the fascist Juan Peron who went on to become dictator of Argentina.
Che takes us back to the time when Eva was 15. Even then she was ambitious and the way out of the life she was leading was through tango singer Augustin Magaldi. She follows him to Buenos Aires where she begins to make her mark on the entertainment scene, notably as an actress on the radio.
She meets politician Juan Peron and quickly establishes herself in his favor, at the same time, ousting his current mistress, a 16-year-old girl. Eva is not content with just being the mistress of a small-time politician. She has ambition enough for the two of them and she pushes him towards supreme power.
In 1946 Peron becomes President of Argentina and on the way, he and Eva have married. She, however, is much more than a wife — she is his propaganda machine with the population. She offers them a vision of the future which involves taxing the rich to pay the poor. By the age of 26, Eva has become a heroine in her own right, a Saint Joan for Argentina. Her ambition doesn't stop here — she wants to be a figure on the world stage.
Eva embarks on a world tour, the Rainbow Tour as it is dubbed. It is not the success that Eva, and Argentina, hoped for. Spain greeted her but elsewhere the reception was somewhat cool. She returns to Argentina and sets up the Eva Peron Foundation. This proves to be successful and popular but Eva is unwell. She desperately wants to become vice-president to her husband but politically this proves not to be possible. She goes on radio to turn down the offer of the honor of vice-president, even though it was never offered to her.
The show is being directed and choreographed by Rick Kerby with Aaron Cassette as musical director. Scenery and projections are being designed by Marc Lalosh with lighting by Joseph P. Oshry and costumes by Jean Boothby.
Area favorites Steve and Dianne Dawson play ‘Che’ and ‘Eva’. Bradley Barbaro plays ‘Juan Peron’, Omar Montes plays ‘Magaldi’ and Melanie Bierweiler plays ‘The Mistress.’
The large cast also features Cami Wyatt, Brittney Klepper, Amy Ferrell, Tyler Johnson, Jason Moore, Paul Hernandez, Nick Drivas, Jeff Grolemund, Alex Beach, Brandon Jamora, Chris Wolf, Hunter Brown, Todd Keefe, Mitcheal Pearl, Anna Trinci, Katherine Lucia, Kathleen Dobran, Barb Wolf, Laurie Diner, Allison Rekow, Antoinette Gagliano, Alina Evans, Kaitlin Folsom, Eliza Lipton, Delaney Couch, Nicolette Huit, Miranda Wolf, Emma Diner, Cassidy Leitenberger, Audrey Lipton, Amanda Lade, Grace Gustafson, Kaity Cairo, Joshua Roberson, Caleb Buck and Maverick Wolf.
Performances are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $26 for adults, $15 for teachers and $13 for students.
Tickets may be reserved by calling 748-5875 Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before curtain on performance days or on the Manatee Players’ website: www.manateeplayers.com. All performances are at 102 Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton.