Monday, May 28, 2012

Evita - May 25, 2012

It is my sad duty to inform you that Evita, the current Broadway revival playing at the Marquis Theater, was pronounced lifeless at 20:25 hours on Friday night.

'Twas a disappointment to realize this dazzling show lost the sparkle of its fantastic past. A past I only know through the cast recording of the original Broadway production starring Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.

I never saw that production-thanks to my twin brother, Larry, who passed on those tickets in high school-and have regretted it ever since. We both have.  We saw in this revival an opportunity to make things right. So, two weeks ago we shelled out $143 for orchestra seats and looked forward to our night of a thousand stars.

But oh, what a circus!

All the elements for a show that was certain to impress were in place.  The set was gorgeous.  The Casa Rosada was actually the best part of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".

The lighting was moody, lush and evocative.  Oh, and Ricky Martin! He has a sweet, easy-on-the-eyes stage presence and a wonderful voice. But, I couldn't stop thinking that he was keeping himself in check vocally because he knows he has to sing 8 shows a week and needs to parcel it out to equitably to ensure he can tackle the next performance.

And that was the problem with the show.  I never got lost in the action.  My mind wandered to technical things such as...
  • How the performers phrasing changed to accommodate their shortness of breath after a dance break.  
  • If the woman in the crowd scene was uncomfortable in her costume because it looked as though it was her first time wearing it.
  • What route did Evita take to get from one side of the stage to the other so quickly and who lent assistance?
  • Why is the cast so bored?
All this could have been forgiven had Evita herself been up to the task.  Sadly, Elena Roger was not.  Her voice was shrill and annoying.  When she finally collapses near the end Larry turned to me and said, "Thank God!"  I know how he felt. I found myself grateful that I wasn't Elena's friend so I was spared the awkward backstage after-the-show moment of trying to figure out what to say.

"That was...yeah.  How do you feel?"

We imagined Patti LuPone slipping off at intermission for a cigarette and never coming back.  With all the talented performers out there why, oh why! was Elena Roger cast in this show?  WHY!?

We exited the show feeling disappointed yet happy that we finally saw Evita on Broadway.  Not for the production but because as Larry stated, "we've got that under our belt".  We felt we accomplished something but ultimately,

You let down your people Evita!

1535 Broadway (between 45th and 46th Streets)
New York, NY 10036
Tickets or call (212) 382-0100