by Katie Konishi, Marketing Specialist
In April, LTAC is taking on a challenge like nothing we’ve quite tackled before–we’re producting a fully-staged, big name musical. EVITA, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is the story of Eva Perón, one of Argentina’s most controversial First Ladies. It’s our biggest endeavor to date, and we’ve put together an all-star team to make it happen.
EVITA opened in London’s West End in 1978 and the show follows Eva Perón throughout her life, from her humble beginnings to her rise to power and through the upper echelons of society. Just recently, there were revivals of the show in both London and New York. There was also a film version of the musical, starring Madonna, Jonathan Pryce, and Antonio Banderas in 1996.
The film version is how our director, Gina Rattan, came to know the musical. But her interest in the story of EVITA wasn’t just a passing fancy–it ignited a passion for the story of Argentina’s former First Lady. So much so, that Gina traveled to Buenos Aires to immerse herself in Eva’s world. Gina heard about our production of the show from her friend Ben Klein, an associate director on Broadway and the keynote speaker of our 2015 Sensory Friendly Summit, who put her in touch with our executive director, Lisa Rigsby Peterson. The rest, as they say, is history!
Gina has directed the second national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and been the associate director of the same show on Broadway, as well as being the associate director of Matilda the Musical on Broadway and NBC’s Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! Most recently, she directed Pace University’s production of another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. Something that she enjoys about Webber’s musicals is that they’re complete stories–there isn’t a lot of exposition and you get to see everything play out on stage. The challenge that this presents for the creative team, of course, is how to make sure that they’re telling the fullest, clearest, most exciting version of the story as possible.
EVITA is one of Gina’s favorite shows and she’s excited to tackle the challenges of directing a show that she knows and loves. “First of all, it’s such a great show as a piece of musical theater. The complicated protagonist is female…she’s not oversimplified, she presents a real person,” Gina says of the show. “It’s a very political show, but it doesn’t play out like a history lesson. All the characters are so passionate and involved in the politics of the show. And that’s not exaggerated — the people of Argentina are really like that!”
One of the characters that Gina is most excited about is the city of Buenos Aires itself. The show is imbued with the vibrancy of the city and it becomes like a character of its own. Every bit of the creative team is responsible for creating the city–from the scenic and sound designers, to the costumes and choreography, we’ll be bringing Buenos Aires to life on stage, as well as the characters themselves.
EVITA is a show that is political and personal, entertaining but thought-provoking. It’s substantive and escapist. It will be a beautiful piece of theater that’s unlike anything that we’ve ever done at the Arts Center, and everyone involved in the production, including Gina, can’t wait to share it with you!
EVITA runs at the Lone Tree Arts Center April 13-29, 2017.