BWW Interviews: Caroline Bowman Headlines EVITA Rainbow Tour
When you watch genuine triple-threat Caroline Bowman step out in a gorgeous, immaculate white ball gown fit for a princess (or, in this case, a fashion-forward First Lady) during the top of the second act of the stage musical EVITA, you will likely hear a collective gasp in the audience. Stunning and beautiful, her enchanting appearance high above at The Edge of the show's Casa Rosada balcony set signals to the audience that she is about to belt out Andrew Lloyd Webber's signature anthem "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina." Expectedly, she nails it.
The song---and Bowman's note-perfect execution of it---is just one of several highlights in what has shaped up to be a truly impressive refreshed production. Lucky for us here in Orange County, the national touring company of the Tony-nominated revival returned to Southern California this week for a two-week "rainbow tour" stop at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through December 22.
And there, center stage, night after night---that is unless her alternate Desi Oakley is filling the role---Bowman embodies the Dior-clad role of Argentina's once shining real-life jewel Eva Perón, and has been winning over audiences and critics alike with her powerful vocals and grounded acting (including reviewers on BroadwayWorld, myself included). It's certainly a tough, challenging role, one that's equipped with a demanding set of songs and a ubiquitous history both in the streets of Buenos Aires and in the Great White Way. But the Baltimore native is just spectacular in the role, singing-and-dancing through the show like a seasoned pro (prior to EVITA, Bowman was in the Broadway casts of KINKY BOOTS and WICKED and toured with SPAMALOT, FAME: THE MUSICAL, and GREASE).
Right before she and her cast-mates invaded the O.C., Bowman agreed to answer a few silly questions from BroadwayWorld's Michael L. Quintos.
BWW: Hi, Caroline! First, I hope you don't mind me gushing for a bit... but I was in the audience for EVITA's Opening Night at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles last October and all I can say is... Wow... you gave such an incredible performance!
Caroline: Wow! Thank you! Ohmigosh... I haven't actually talked to anybody [in the press] who has actually seen the show already when I do these interviews, so... my gosh, thank you!
Well, thank you!
That means so much to me! Well, I'm workin' my ass off! [Laughs]
It shows! Which brings me to my first question: between what you, and Josh [Young, who plays Ché], and the other principals in the cast sing in the show---well, this score is so, well, vocally-demanding. How do you sustain this vocal power show after show?
Oh, well... I actually live a pretty simple life while I'm on tour. It's pretty exhausting---the traveling aspect of it---so it sort of starts to wear you down a little bit. So, yeah, I wake up in the morning and see how I feel. If it has to be a day when I don't really talk, I pretty much make sure that I give myself "vocal breaks" throughout the day. So it's, like, "okay, I'm not going to talk for this hour..."
I do have a very regimented tour life. I do a warm-up for my warm-up, I do another full warm-up right before the show, and I make sure my whole body is in check and ready because, you know, some things might be out of alignment---it all can affect your voice. I'm just very... aware. It's still hard everyday. But I'm starting to find my groove---although you really can't find your groove with this show because it's kind of like a wave. You go up and down and up and down, and sometimes you're going to have a couple of days when you're, like, "ugh, I really need to get back into my groove!" This show keeps you on your toes! And it's really lovely, actually. [This role] forces you to try and stay on top of it.
I bet. So, you, of course, play the title role of Eva Perón, who is an icon not only in real life but also in the world of musical theater. While preparing to take on this important historical figure, what were some of the more interesting things you learned about her that helped shape your take on the role?