EVITA w/ Martin & Roger Begins Previews Mar. 2012; Opens Apr. 2012
As previously reported, producers Hal Luftig and Scott Sanders will produce a revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's landmark musical EVITA, opening on Broadway in the spring of 2012 at a Nederlander Theatre to be announced. The production will star world renowned music artist Ricky Martin as Ché and, making her Broadway debut, Olivier Award Winning Argentinean actress Elena Roger as Evita, reprising her celebrated performance from the 2006 critically acclaimed production in London's West End. Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage and Tony Award winner Rob Ashford will also return to direct and choreograph, respectively. This is the first new Broadway production of the seven-time Tony Award-winning musical since it debuted on Broadway more than 30 years ago.
Today, an Equity Principle Casting notice reveals that previews will begin in March of 2012 in anticipation of an April 2012 opening. Rehearsals begin in February of that year.
"I've been blessed with the opportunity to perform on many of the world's largest concert stages, but I've never lost my love for the intimacy of the theater," said Ricky Martin. "I'm delighted to know that after I've had the chance to share new music and tour over the coming year, that I will then return once again to Broadway. I'm looking forward to playing such an essential part in Michael Grandage's wonderful production and the chance to work with the tremendously talented Elena Roger."
"It is very exciting to bring this new production of EVITA to Broadway with an Argentinean woman in the title role for the very first time," said Michael Grandage. "With Ricky Martin joining the company, we now have an opportunity to make the production even more authentic and to celebrate Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber 's brilliant achievement as it comes to New York for the first time in over a quarter of a century."
Eva Peron used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. She won international acclaim and adoration from her own people as a champion of the poor, while glamour, power and greed made her the world's first major political celebrity.
EVITA tells Eva'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.
In 2006, after a lengthy search, Argentinean actress Elena Roger became an overnight sensation starring in the title role in Michael Grandage's widely hailed production of EVITA in the West End. The London Evening Standard declared that Roger was giving "a socking great star performance" and The Independent called her "simply sensational." "The evening belongs to the big-lunged Argentinean Elena Roger, who zooms through with more than ‘just a little touch of star quality'" stated The London Sunday Times. A complete unknown to the rest of the world, Roger Starred in multiple theatrical productions and television shows in her native Argentina. Most recently Roger won the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as Edith Piaf in The Donmar Theatre production of Piaf.
Already a Latin music superstar, Ricky Martin, made his Broadway debut as Marius in the original production of Les Misérables. In 1999, he burst onto the global stage with his spectacular performance of La Copa de la Vida ("The Cup of Life") at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. The New York Times said the famed GRAMMY moment "put a match to the tinder of the pop-music world" and instantly establishEd Martin as "the symbol of Latin culture's new mainstream status in the United States." Over the course of his two decade solo career, Martin has now sold over 55 million albums and performed to sold-out stadium and arena audiences throughout the world. Declared "an international pop icon and Latin Music's Global Ambassador" by Billboard and recognized by the Latin Recording Academy as it's youngest "Person of the Year" honoree, Martin has been the recipient of dozens of prestigious international awards saluting both his musical achievements and far-reaching philanthropic efforts. As essential a part of his persona as his love of performing, Martin is equally dedicated to extensive charitable work through the efforts of the Ricky Martin Foundation - which advocates for the well being of children around the globe in critical areas such as social justice, education and health. Recently, The RMF has also deepenEd Martin's long-standing support of Habitat for Humanity by becoming a principal partner in their rebuilding efforts in Haiti. Currently, Ricky Martin is in the final stages of recording his highly-anticipated new album, which will be released later this yeaR. Martin is then expected to undertake a worldwide tour throughout 2011 before making his Broadway return in EVITA.
Broadway veteran choreographer, performer and director, Rob Ashford, won a Tony Award for his inspired choreography in Thoroughly Modern Millie, his Broadway debut as a choreographer. Since then, Ashford has earned Tony Nominations for his work on The Wedding Singer, Curtains and Cry Baby, Olivier Nominations for Evita, Guys & Dolls and Parade, for which he also received a nomination for his direction, and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for his work on the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Ashford is currently on the board of The Joyce Theatre, is the Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse in London and was just nominated for a 2010 Tony Award for his choreography of the new Broadway production of Promises, Promises, for which he also made his Broadway directorial debut.
Olivier Award winner and two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse in London where he has presented an extensive repertoire of work over the last eight years included the U.S. productions of Frost/Nixon, Hamlet with Jude Law and Red which is currently running at the Golden Theater. His work for the Donmar includes Guys & Dolls and Grand Hotel both of which won the Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production and Merrily We Roll Along which won the Olivier for Best New Musical. From 2000-2005, as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres in the UK, his high profile productions included Edward II with Joseph Fiennes, Richard III with Kenneth Branagh and Don Carlos with Derek Jacobi.
After researching the life of Eva Perón 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 Ché. 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.
Additional creative team members and casting will be announced at a later date.
Photo: Elena Roger as Eva Peron in the London revival of Evita by Nigel Norrington/Camera Press/Retna