Creativity Today

A Different Way to Live Life

Forget Buenos Aires: Evita Takes New York!

This post is an article I wrote that was originally published in The Hewitt Times. See below for the creative challenge. 

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As a present for having to get my four wisdom teeth removed over winter break, my mother took me to see the Broadway show Evita, a revival of the original 1978 Broadway production. The show tells the story of Eva Peron – lovingly nicknamed Evita – the former First Lady of Argentina, who rose from being a poor girl living in a small town to being one of the most significant people in Argentina.

My Evita playbill.
My Evita playbill.

I was especially excited to see the show because its composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, happens to be my favorite composer of all time. He is brilliant for so many reasons. His creative mind and fabulous ear for music enables him to compose remarkable pieces. In addition, Webber uses the repetition of melodies in his different pieces to subconsciously instill in the audience member an association between a melody and an event or feeling. This is especially prevalent in Evita (as well as in The Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite shows). For example, in the opening scene, which portrays the end of the story, as Argentinians are mourning the death of Evita, the melody playing intermittently throughout the mourners’ song (called “Requiem” – skip to 1:45) is the same melody of the song Evita sings at the very end of the show (called “Lament”), as she is dying. Additionally, small aspects of this melody occur throughout the song Evita sings as she is preparing for a European tour (called “Rainbow High” – skip to 0:24) after she becomes the First Lady, which foreshadows Evita’s sickness (which the audience first becomes aware of during her European tour). Interspersing the same melody at three crucial points in Evita’s life (and death) keeps the melody in the audience’s mind as an association with and a signal of Evita’s illness and death.

The musical aspects of the show were brought to life by Argentinian star Elena Roger as Evita. As soon as I heard her distinct voice, I immediately fell in love with her (and, of course, as soon as I got home I downloaded the entire Evita soundtrack and watched countless videos of Elena singing on YouTube). Additionally, her attitude while playing Evita was spot-on; it felt like I was watching the real Evita going through her life.

The real Evita Peron. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.
The real Evita Peron. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.

In addition to the music, the presentation of the show was superb. The costumes were eye-catching, engaging, and, in the case of several of Evita’s dresses, beautiful. The set was charming. The dancing, choreographed by Tony award-winning choreographer Rob Ashford, was magnificent, and it truly captured the emotions of each song.

Evita at the Marquis Theatre. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.
Evita at the Marquis Theatre. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.

All of these elements combined lead Evita to tie with Phantom as #1 on my list of the top Broadway shows I have ever seen. However, much to my chagrin, Evita is having its final performance on Saturday, January 26, and I encourage everyone to see the show before it closes. The show covers many interests (history, musical theater, Latin America, just to name a few), so it is certain to appeal to every type of person.

I just have one request to those who plan to see Evita: buy an extra ticket and take me with you!

Creative challenge:

This leads me to this week’s creative challenge: find a show, movie, or book that you particularly enjoyed and write an article about it! Hopefully, you’ll find, like I did, that the experience of writing about something you love and articulating the reasons why you appreciate it makes you love it even more.

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Have you seen Evita, either as a show or as a movie? If so, what was your favorite scene or song and why? And do you agree with me regarding the brilliance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music in the show? Comment below to discuss.

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