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Che in Evita

Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 01:32pm
Is Che a leading role or supporting role ultimately in EVITA?
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N2N Nate.
Broadway Star
joined:7/11/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 01:39pm
He can be interpreted both ways. Personally, I would say he is leading.
So Lauren Bacall me, anything goes! *wink*
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gavyj
Stand-by
joined:11/9/11
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 01:41pm
Patinkin won "Best Featured Actor..." I personally consider Che and Eva the leads and Peron, Mistress, and Magaldi (?) supporting.

If I were to guess, they put Patinkin in as "Featured" to give him a better chance at winning. But I could be wrong.
Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 02:03pm
I think Patinkin would still have won in lead, although it's very rare to get a best actor and actress win in the same year with the same show for Tonys, Oscars etc., in spite of some exceptions. Plus wasn't Patinkin up against his co-star Bob Gunton for featured?

It reminds me of the MC conundrum in Cabaret. Che, like the MC is the narrator-type character, and originally both were perceived to be featured or supporting but nowadays, the tendency is to call them leading roles.
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The Glenbuck Laird
Understudy
joined:8/25/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 03:28pm
Che as in Che Guevara or Che as in mate?
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artscallion
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/07
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 03:34pm
The character is simply Che. Patinkin played it as Che Guevera, and some lyrics support that choice. Others, including Ricky Martin in the recent revival, have played it simply as Che, an everyman.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 03:41pm
The concept album was explicitly Che Guevara- a subplot cut from almost all stage versions is his failure as a research chemist-turned-entrepreneur. When this plot was cut, the character was retooled to be both Guevara and not Guevara. The use of "Che" as a name is a pun on the ambiguity of the character.
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lovebwy
Broadway Legend
joined:4/22/12
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 04:16pm
I got into a terrible fight over this on ATC. There were dummies there who INSISTED the character NEVER had anything do with Che Guevara. It is made explicitly clear on the concept album that it IS Guevara, to the point where he sings a song about developing a new insecticide (which Guevara did).

I'm not saying that certain directors haven't gone against that, but the original intent from Rice was clear in the lyrics.

The lady's got potential, she ought to go far.
She always knows exactly who her best friends are.
The greatest social climber since Cinderella.
But Eva's not the only one who's getting the breaks;
I'm a research chemist who's got what it takes,
And my insecticide's gonna be a bestseller.

Yeah, just one blast and the insects fall like flies
Kapow! Die! They don't have a chance!
In the fly-killing world it's a major advance!
In my world it'll mean finance:
I'm shaping up successful Capitalist-wise!

Updated On: 9/27/13 at 04:16 PM
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 04:33pm
During the original version of Waltz for Eva and Che, their confrontation over Che's perpetual hounding of the Perons to endorse his insecticide comes to a head and Evita tells him to go elsewhere and become some leader or great man where she won't have to deal with him- explicitly "causing" his origin as Che Guevara. This was cut as well.
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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 05:01pm
"If I were to guess, they put Patinkin in as "Featured" to give him a better chance at winning. But I could be wrong."

At one point in the history of the Tony Awards producers did not have the option to petition for a category change and the billing rules were absolute. I don't know when the option to petition was created, but that could be why Patinkin was Featured (I also don't know what the billing was for the original production, so I'm just speculating as to reasons why he would have been in that category and not leading).
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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theatreguy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/31/03
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 05:12pm
AEA - everyone was below the title for the original production of Evita.

http://www.playbillvault.com/Show/Detail/Whos_who/12263/14519/Evita
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givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 07:54pm
Patinkin was nominated for Leading Actor for the Drama Desks and lost to Jim Dale, so is it possible the producers of Evita didn't want him in leading for the Tonys, thinking he would lose to Jim Dale?
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
Theater'sBestFriend
Featured Actor
joined:3/5/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 09:15pm
My understanding is that "Che" is a typical regional idiosyncratic expression of Argentinian Spanish meaning "guy" (sort of the way Californians say "dude"). The character written by Tim Rice was supposed to be a working class Everyman, one of the descamisados (shirtless workers) who formed the political base of Peronism.

The interpretation of Che as Che Guevara was a very specific directing choice of Hal Prince. It made complete sense for the 1970's -- the Soviet Union still existed, Cuba was its foothold, and Latin America was an arena (along with Indochina, the Middle East, and Africa) where the Cold War powers were vying to establish spheres of influence. It lent natural dramatic bite to the story, although it was a complete historical anachronism -- Che Guevara and Eva Peron never met in reality. In that interpretation, they were personifications of the geopolitical struggle of left and right.

Michael Grandage is on record as saying his directorial vision was to go back to the Everyman concept of the creators. It makes complete sense -- the story of charismatic celebrity politics and its relation to the 99%, and the way Argentinian history is a mirror of current events, is much more relevant to our time. We've made our own movie actor our national U.S. leader since the original production, something that would've seemed like a joke at the time. It would be strange to interpret Che as Che Guevara now.
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kdogg36
Leading Actor
joined:9/13/07
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 09:52pm
The character written by Tim Rice was supposed to be a working class Everyman, one of the descamisados (shirtless workers) who formed the political base of Peronism.

Take a look at lovebway's comment above - the lyrics from "The Lady's Got Potential" clearly indicate that the authors had Che Guevara in mind at that stage of the game. Obviously that's been toned down or eliminated - is the "from 17 to 24" line still in there? - but I think it's difficult to argue that the bizarre insecticide tangent is just a coincidence. :)
Theater'sBestFriend
Featured Actor
joined:3/5/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/27/13 at 10:32pm
Tim Rice has said in interviews etc. his Che concept was an Everyman, and the Che Guevara interpretation was Hal Prince's innovation.
trpguyy
Broadway Star
joined:2/25/05
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/28/13 at 01:27am
Re: the original question - Che is definitely the male lead.
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kdogg36
Leading Actor
joined:9/13/07
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/28/13 at 07:30am
Tim Rice has said in interviews etc. his Che concept was an Everyman, and the Che Guevara interpretation was Hal Prince's innovation.

It's certainly possible he said this, but it's equally certain that it's not the truth. :) Are you aware of the song "The Lady's Got Potential" from the concept recording? The lyrics unmistakably refer to (weird) details from Che Guevara's life in Argentina, and this was before Hal Prince got involved.
Musicaldudepeter
Broadway Star
joined:3/18/10
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/28/13 at 03:48pm
Forgot about Jim Dale in Barnum. Think he was unbeatable that year for the Tony. Patinkin was wise to stay in featured.
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EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/28/13 at 05:15pm
Che as first conceived, and especially as portrayed by Mandy Patinkin, was intended to be Che Guevera. His costume, the beard, the lines in the concept version of THE LADY'S GOT POTENTIAL...

It was really only in later productions, mainly right before and after the movie version with Antonio Banderas, did he really become more of just the "every man" non-Guevera Che.
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/28/13 at 06:04pm
I suspect that early on, in the concept album days, the Che character was unabashedly Guevara... until the creatives started realizing that, between the anachronism and frankly absurd subplot he was given, the Guevara character didn't work. By the stage premiere, the character was stuck somewhere in the middle- a man who looks like and hints at being Guevara, but does not self-identify as such or especially act like Guevara. By the next round of productions the Guevara-ism was already almost gone, and Banderas's performance in the film completed the cycle that ended the transformation from Che Guevara to Che Argentina.
Theater'sBestFriend
Featured Actor
joined:3/5/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/29/13 at 02:56am
"It's certainly possible he said this, but it's equally certain that it's not the truth... The lyrics unmistakably refer to (weird) details from Che Guevara's life in Argentina, and this was before Hal Prince got involved."

If Tim Rice wrote Che to be Che Guevara, how come he didn't call him "Che Guevara," as he calls Evita Peron "Evita Peron"? And why would the author lie about his intention? Is there some recondite clue about that as well in the lyrics?
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kdogg36
Leading Actor
joined:9/13/07
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/29/13 at 12:33pm
Well, he might simply have misremembered rather than lied. In any event, as others here have noted, the evidence from the concept recording is overwhelming. Whether or not the authors intended for Che to be Che Guevara, they clearly had him in mind when they created the character.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/29/13 at 12:57pm
Also, keep in mind the rapidly shifting cultural context and mainstream views of Guevara. In popular culture and academic study, Guevara has metamorphosed back and forth between saintly martyr for freedom, bloodthirsty tyrant, harmless pop-cultural figurehead, and dangerous fanatic. Guevara's swing back and forth between being an idealized and demonized figure in the understanding of millions, while still being almost as recent as the Vietnam War, makes him a dangerous figure to have as the protagonist of a politically ambiguous musical. Changing him to the personification of Argentina, rather than the man who may or may not have been worse for South America than the Perons, brings a level of stability to the character that Guevara would not.
Theater'sBestFriend
Featured Actor
joined:3/5/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/30/13 at 12:23am
"Well, he might simply have misremembered rather than lied."

So lemme get this straight: you contend that the author wrote a historically specific musical in which he identified the historical figures by last name, but decided for no particular reason to single out one character to not use his identifying last name. His first name is regional slang for the character type on which the political movement that's depicted is based, but secretly he's not that, he's actually someone we're all supposed to know based on hints. The author did this just for fun. Then he said he didn't. Because he forgot.

Cool theory.
Theater'sBestFriend
Featured Actor
joined:3/5/13
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/30/13 at 12:29am
Oh wait - I forgot: three and a half decades later, when the show was revived on Broadway, a new director, under license from the original authors, said he was going back to the authors' original intent by directing Che as an everyman, and the authors stood by and let him say this and conceive the revival that way even though it's not true. Because that would blow the secret that you figured out from the hints on the album. Or because they forgot.

Is that right?
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wonderwaiter
Broadway Legend
joined:10/4/05
Che in Evita
Posted: 9/30/13 at 01:17am
From Evita: The Legend of Eva Peron published in 1979 by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice:

"Although there is no evidence whatsoever that Ernesto 'Che' Guevara ever met Eva Peron or became personally involved with her, our character Che is based upon this legendary revolutionary."

"Che in Evita is at times a narrator, at times a critic, at times simply a device that enables us to place Eva in a situation where she is confronted with lucid personal criticism. His comments throughout reflect what Che Guevara might have said had he been a first-hand witness to many of the episodes of the work, but the fact that he is based on Guevara in this way is not as important as the fact that our Che represents a conventional radical opposition to Peronism."


Evita: The Legend of Eva Peron, 1919-1952
"The tale doesn't so much unfold as ooze out..."
Updated On: 9/30/13 at 01:17 AM

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