EVITA has been a constant staple on the stages around the world since its initial introduction. After researching the life of Eva Peron for many years, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber released EVITA in 1976 as a concept album with Julie Covington as Evita and it became a world-wide hit. Soon after, the production debuted on stage in London's West End starring Elaine Paige and directed by Hal Prince. The production transferred to Broadway and opened in 1979 starring Patti LuPone, who went on to win one of the seven 1980 Tony Awards the show earned. A major 1996 film of the musical was made starring Madonna as Evita and Antonio Banderas as Che. Michael Grandage's production of EVITA, which opened in 2006, took London by storm and garnered critical acclaim for the show and its leading lady, Elena Roger.
This New Broadway Cast Recording of Evita debuted at #1 on Billboard's Cast Album chart. Produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Nigel Wright with Tim Rice as Executive Producer, this is the first complete English language stage recording of the show since the original 1979 Broadway cast album. EVITA tells Eva Peron's passionate and tragic story through Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's most dazzling and beloved score, including "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" and "High Flying Adored," together with "You Must Love Me," the Oscar-winning hit from the film EVITA.
This production is solid. Though there may be qualms about the quality of the voice of Elena Roger as Evita and despite the fact that she doesn't seem to plumb the depths of Eva Perón's character, she has a strikingly vivacious approach: she makes up for pretty with a heavy dose of spunk, an that is as valid an interpretation as anyone's for this enigmatic character. The remainder of the cast is superb - Ricky Martin, in his first Broadway role since his appearance as Marius in Les Misérables in 1996, fills this pivotal character not only with his voice (in excellent form) but also with his charisma. Much the same can be said for Michael Cerveris as Perón and especially for Max von Essen as Magaldi - an underused actor with a splendid voice.
The orchestra and chorus are full of zest as well as compassion and the overall feeling from this cast album is fulfilling. EVITA wears very every well. Grady Harp, July 12