New World School of the Arts college music theater program will present the award-winning musical Evita, one of the most successful productions by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Feb. 19-21, at the Colony Theater. 1040 Lincoln Rd. in Miami Beach.
Directed by NWSA theater faculty mmber James Randolph, the musical highlights the talents of music theater college juniors and seniors, and orchestra students from the NWSA’s music division led by Jeff Hess, musical director of the show.
“This is a great story, with extraordinary music that has all the qualities of an opera and a Greek tragedy,” Randolph said. “The material poses a wonderful challenge for the students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at NWSA.
“Working on this material will not only provide historical context for all involved but also increase each student’s skills as they prepare for the rigors of a life in the theater. It is a privilege for all involved to have the opportunity work on and present the show.”
Evita premieres on Friday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m. Followup shows are on Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors. More information available at 305-674-1040; tickets at http://nwsa.mdc.edu.
One of the most influential political figures of the first half of the 20th Century, Eva Peron was born in 1919, in Junin, Argentina to a poor and untraditional family comprised of two very different social worlds. Upon her father’s death, she was shunned from her father’s funeral by his “other” much more affluent family. This was an experience she would never forget and a sour memory that would haunt her throughout her life. It was this rejection that forged her into the woman she became — socially and politically — loved and acclaimed by the common people of Argentina and despised by the wealthy and power brokers of her country.
“This show is as relevant as it ever was,” Randolph explained. “There is tremendous upheaval in all continents of the world and many cultures and nations are looking for someone to provide answers. The need for social justice, change and human rights are as imperative as anytime in human history.”
The events that shaped her young life molded Evita into an ambitious and astute woman who learned how to work the system for her own benefit and wellbeing.
According to historical accounts, Eva Peron became an expert manipulator who recognized and seized the moments that changed the fate of Argentina. But it wasn’t until 1944, when she met Colonel Juan Peron, that the duo became trailblazers and instruments of real social change in the Southern-most country of Latin America, helping the less fortunate and giving them immeasurable hope for the future.
The musical portrays the spiritual leader’s good and generous nature as well as her darkest side — one filled with doubts and insecurities, and, most notably, with the fear that she would someday be forgotten by her beloved people.
Randolph also highlights the importance of this production to the South Florida community and explains, “As a musical theater performance, Evita is important because the South Florida community has such a large community of people from the Caribbean and South America; it is the crossroads of the South American world and the long term effects both good and bad, of Eva Peron and her influence are still ever present today.”
With almost 3,200 performances, Evita opened in 1978 at the Prince of Whales Theater in London and closed eight years later, 1986. The Broadway production opened in 1979 and closed four years later with over 1,500 performances. There have been a number of revivals in both the UK and USA and numerous award and accolades including Tony Awards in 1980 for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Performance by Leading Actress, Best Performance by Featured Actor, Best Direction, Best Lighting, and an Oliver Award in 2007 for Outstanding Musical Production.