by Brian Coats, Education Programs Associate
NOTE: This Play Guide may contain mild spoilers about the story of the show. If you like to be completely surprised by the play, you may wish to wait until after seeing it to read the Play Guide.
September 5 – 30, 2018
- Eva Maria Duarte de Perón: After leaving her life of poverty in a small town and traveling to the big city of Buenos Aires, Eva uses her grit, charm, and determination to become the beloved but controversial First Lady of Argentina.
- Juan Perón: A prominent Argentine military figure who, with immense help from his wife, Eva, becomes President of Argentina despite a tumultuous political career.
- Che: A tour guide through the story of Evita’s life and rise to power. He portrays members of Argentine society from varying classes to offer perspectives through a variety of different lenses.
- Perón’s Mistress: A former lover of Juan Perón, whom Eva disposes of rather quickly to focus Perón’s attention solely on herself.
- Agustín Magaldi: A tango singer and Eva’s first love who leads her to the “Big Apple,” Buenos Aires, and begins her long journey to fame and stardom as an actress.
- The People of Argentina: An ensemble of characters who boldly and loudly make their opinions of the Peróns known. While the political and social elite are repulsed by Eva and Juan, the poorest citizens, or descamisados, adore Evita and propel her to new political heights with their support.
What's The Story?
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber bring to life the story of one of Argentina’s most controversial public figures in this operatic musical about the life of Eva Peron, First Lady of Argentina.
Eva Duarte is a poor, small town girl from Junin, Argentina who dreams of living a larger life. She meets a tango singer who promises to make all her dreams come true and, leaving her family behind, travels with him to Buenos Aires, the “Big Apple” of Argentina. Taking the city and the people in stride, Eva soon becomes a public figure through her work on the screen and as a radio personality. However, it isn’t until she meets Juan Perón in 1944 that she takes on the role of a lifetime: the First Lady of Argentina.
Well-known hits like “Buenos Aires,” “A New Argentina,” “High Flying Adored,” “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Rainbow High” and more carry the audience through this turbulent and critical look at fame, power and a country at the hands of one charismatic and ambitious woman.
Larger Than Life: Webber, Rice, Jesus and Evita
Though very well known for their collaboration on the life of Eva Perón, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have a partnership that goes back long before 1976. In fact, their relationship began when Webber was merely 17 years of age and studying at Oxford University. Rice, who was interested in writing a book about pop history, was rejected by a publisher and put in touch with Webber, who was studying history at Oxford but left to pursue composing. After reaching out to see if Webber would have any interest in meeting him, the two met and began a long and fruitful collaborative relationship.
While their first musical, 1965’s The Likes of Us, was unsuccessful, the team was commissioned to create a religious concert for Webber’s brother’s school. It was a perfect mix of the pop music that Rice was interested in writing and the musical theatre genre on which Webber was focused. This piece, after much work and editing, later became Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which premiered in London’s West End in 1973.
Following this moderate success, Webber and Rice decided to stick to the religious theme and wrote a concept album which became Jesus Christ Superstar (1971), a work that launched their careers.
The idea to do a piece on Eva Perón came about when Rice heard a radio play about the life of the famed First Lady of Argentina. At the time, Webber and Rice couldn’t agree on their next project, but Rice was fascinated by the story of Evita. He traveled to Argentina to learn more about her fame and reputation. When he returned to England, he and Webber decided to move forward with the project. Rice had already written lyrics, and the two collaborated to add Webber’s music. Evita was first released as a concept album, which rose to number 1 on the British pop charts in 1976. The staging of the album premiered in the West End in 1978 at the Prince Edward Theatre. It starred Elaine Paige in the role of Eva Perón, an accomplished actress who would go on to collaborate with Webber in future productions of Cats and Sunset Boulevard. When the musical premiered on Broadway in 1979, it won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the first British musical to be granted the honor. The Broadway production also made an instant star out of musical icon Patti LuPone, who won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. When the musical was turned into a film starring Madonna in 1996, Webber and Rice wrote a new song called “You Must Love Me,” which won them both an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
After Evita, Webber and Rice parted ways, each going on to successful careers. Webber has won numerous awards for his work on Cats, Phantom of the Opera (and its sequel Love Never Dies), and most recently, School of Rock. Rice turned towards film, writing lyrics to some of the most well-known Disney songs from The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, as well as the film The Road to El Dorado. His stage work includes Chess and Disney’s Aida, the latter of which was a written with his The Lion King collaborator, Sir Elton John.
Join us at The Rep for a masterful staging of Webber and Rice’s musical masterpiece to kick off our 52nd season!