Evita returns to Rotorua for first time in 26 years

By Cindy McQuade

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Richard Marshall was in the cast of Evita's last Rotorua production 26 years ago and is now directing this year's one for Rotorua Musical Theatre.
Richard Marshall was in the cast of Evita's last Rotorua production 26 years ago and is now directing this year's one for Rotorua Musical Theatre.

The Rotorua Musical Theatre scored a coup in securing the rights to the musical Evita, a show that hasn't been performed in the city for more than 26 years.

The theatre applied to Andrew Lloyd Webber's company two years ago and is one of the few to meet with success over the past decades.

After months of work, the theatre is excited to finally perform the iconic musical for the next two weeks.

It is based on the life of Argentina's controversial First Lady, Eva Peron, who leaves a life of poverty for the charms of Buenos Aires.

Driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, she was a starlet at 22, the president's mistress at 24, First Lady at 27, and dead at 33.

"She was the Robin Hood of South America and the most loved and also the most hated person in the country," director Richard Marshall said.

"Evita is a story of rags to riches. Hollywood couldn't have written a better story. She took from the rich and gave to the poor by building schools, and hospitals. The poor loved her and today, some still think of her as a saint, but the aristocracy hated her."

Told through a compelling score that fuses haunting chorales with exuberant Latin, pop and jazz influences, Evita creates an arresting theatrical portrait as complex as the woman herself.

This new version of Evita is based on the 2006 London production and includes the songs You Must Love Me, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

The production is set from the 1930s to the 1950s and as a result, the costumes and set revel in the colour and style.

"They are absolutely fantastic. Ava's costumes are extremely glamorous, she was renowned for wearing Dior. Then we have the costumes of the poor people, the aristocracy who also dressed in diamonds and jewels, as well as the costumes of the military," Mr Marshall said.

He said the show was a great one for the company because the cast were on stage constantly, having to make quick costume changes throughout the performance.

Mr Marshall said the show had become a classic because it was based on the life of a real person, and was the last musical collaboration between Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

"The lyrics works so well. It is a classical musical. Eva hated the thought of being forgotten, and because of this musical her story will always be remembered," he said.


* What: Evita presented by Rotorua Musical Theatre

* Where: Civic Theatre

* When: Tonight - August 13, 8pm-10.30pm

* Tickets: Phone 0800 111 999

- Rotorua Daily Post

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