Saturday, July 19, 2008

Review: Evita

I had an opportunity to see Evita at the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center last night. It is a CENTERstage production directed by Kevin Archambault.

It was beautiful. It's been a long time since I've seen such an amazing community theater production. The choreography and staging were wonderful, the lighting design was beautifully done, the set, by Richard Prouse - in one word Gorgeous! The music elegant. Costumes were wonderfully done also, with subtle colors and effectively setting the tone.

The highlight of the evening was Eva Peron herself, played by Aubrey Flick. Aubrey handled the challenges of the role smoothly and beautifully making the difficult transitions musically seem easy. She also managed many many costume changes (20+, I lost count), in an impossibly quick manner - kudos to her dresser(s) as well. Aubrey also did the difficult job of transitioning in age as Eva went from her humble roots, to elegant first lady, and then into illness.

She was mesmerizing - It's not often that an actor grabs my focus in that way. I like to observe the little nuances of the individual actors and usually have no trouble focusing on each individual at various times throughout the show. Aubrey stole every scene she was in, which was pretty much all of them.

Also amazing were Che played by the energetic Joshuah Partriarco and he handles the difficult role beautifully. The Mistress ,Victoria McCarthy, who sang like an angel and made an impression even though she appeared so briefly. Len West, who handled the challenging role Juan Peron by walking the fine line of appearing strong enough to be believable as a leader, but not so strong that he cannot be eclipsed by his wife.

The ensemble was filled with very talented, strong voices as well. They performed the complex job of becoming the people and filling the stage with whatever class or subset needed. From the poor, to the working class and even into the upper crust, they cast did an amazing job. I especially enjoyed the Tango Dancers.

I would recommend everyone to go see this show, certain to be the summer hit, but it is the last weekend, and the show is already sold out. If you were lucky enough to have seen this show, or have tickets for tonight or tomorrow - you know, or will know, exactly what I mean.

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