REVIEW: 'Evita' at The Rep

There are many people to congratulate on The Rep’s unforgettable production of “Evita,” but you won’t see most of them on stage.

Harry Hamm
September 10, 2018 - 4:37 pm

Photo courtesy of The Rep

Categories: 

There are many people to congratulate on The Rep’s unforgettable production of “Evita,” but you won’t see most of them on stage.

Director Rob Ruggiero’s vision and sense of storytelling and history brings this singular tale of corruption, coupled with saintly sex appeal, vividly to life. History has never been confident on whether Eva Peron was a sinner or a saint. This production reveals she was always a little of both.

Scenic design, choreography plus musical direction by Charlie Alterman with a 12-piece orchestra (large for any musical produced at The Rep) are a perfect blend to portray the tumultuous times of a country being destroyed financially and socially by those at the top and a power-crazed military.

“Evita” is considered Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most perfect production. Theatrically, it’s kind of a magic trick. The production attaches itself to any audience progressively. You fall in love with Eva quickly, although you wouldn’t want to trust her with your 401K.

Michelle Aravena, recently seen at The Muny in “Jersey Boys” and a veteran playing the role of Eva Peron, gives a very assured performance and sings the role nicely. Pepe Nufrio as Che is a powerful presence, although not costumed in fatigues and a beret, which is normally done. It takes away a little of the edginess of the role. Sean MacLaughlin is perfectly pompous as Juan Peron, the leader constantly fearful for his life and the fortune he is stashing away off shore.

I have always loved “Evita.” You will fall in love with The Rep’s production. It is as timely today as ever. It is a bright, lavish and profusely representative of The Rep doing its best work.

4 Stars