Despite negative temps, a packed house spilled out the Orpheum Theatre last night with Latin music-infused blood pumping through our veins and the urge to tango. The opening night performance of Evita was stunningly moving and left me yearning for more (so much so that I found myself listening to the soundtrack first thing this morning). If you’re unfamiliar with the story made famous by Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber and later Madonna, Evita is based on the true events surrounding Eva Perón’s rise to stardom and fall from grace as Argentina’s First Lady in the 1940s.
The show’s set design is deceptively simple, but transforms through the careful use of light. Most striking is Eva’s entrance on the palace balcony in a sequined white ball gown as she addresses her country for the first time, singing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. As the show’s most iconic song I was prepared to be let down; instead I found myself completely riveted.
Vocals and choreography are both phenomenal in this production that was updated for the first time since the show’s original Broadway run in the 70s. Even if you’ve seen it live before, it’s worth revisiting for Caroline Bowman’s performance as Eva and Josh Young’s portrayal of Che, both of which I prefer over the newest Broadway cast recording.
Evita runs at the Orpheum Theatre through Sunday, February 2nd. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Hennepin Theatre Trust.