Broadway's Paulo Szot and West End's Kurt Kansley Join Tina Arena in EVITA

Broadway's Paulo Szot and West End's Kurt Kansley Join Tina Arena in EVITAOpera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Australian theatre producer John Frost and leading UK theatre producer David Ian today announced the full cast for their upcoming production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's EVITA. One of the most celebrated musicals of all time, the original West End and Broadway production of EVITA, directed by Hal Prince, will return to Australia from 13 September this year, playing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.

It was previously announced that Australian singer, songwriter and musical theatre star Tina Arena will play the role of Eva Perón. Starring opposite her as Juan Perón will be opera superstar Paulo Szot, whose last Australian performance was the title role in Opera Australia's Eugene Onegin. Szot played Emile De Beque in the award-winning revival of South Pacific on Broadway, winning the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic's Circle and Theater World Awards.

Playing the young revolutionary Che will be Kurt Kansley, who trained at Monash University and The Melba Conservatorium. In Australia, Kurt has performed in The Lion King, Rent, Godspell and Show Boat, directed by Hal Prince, while his numerous credits in the West End include Bernstein's Mass Concert, Guys and Dolls, Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Ragtime, Sweet Bird of Youth and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Acclaimed musical theatre performer Michael Falzon (We Will Rock You, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess) will play tango singer Magaldi, while the role of Perón's Mistress will be played by newcomer Alexis van Maanen, making her professional debut. Currently playing The Wicked Witch of the West in GFO's The Wizard of Oz following her seven years as Elphaba in Wicked, Jemma Rix will be the Eva Perón Alternate.

Completing the cast will be Justin Anderson, Anton Berezin, Michael Camilleri, Olivia Carniato, Rachel Cole, Alie Coste, Jade Coutts, Kristian Crowe, Todd Dewberry, Rodney Dobson, Samantha Dodemaide, Laura Field, Zoy Frangos, Ashleigh Gurnett, Kate Maree Hoolihan, Georgina Hopson, Thomas Johansson, Thern Reynolds, Christopher Scalzo, David Sirianni, Tod Strike, Simon Tichelaar, Dean Vince, Rachael Ward and Paul Whiteley.

"We are thrilled to have assembled such a sensational talented cast to play opposite Tina Arena in this renowned production of EVITA," said the producers. "The original West End and Broadway version of this truly iconic musical was a landmark theatrical event, and we can't wait to present it with this incredible group of performers. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Hal Prince are legends of musical theatre; it gets no better than this."

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the Australian premiere was secured exclusively for Sydney by the NSW Government and will be a major drawcard for visitors to the State.

"The NSW Government is committed to securing premiere musical productions which drive visitation to the State. During the season of EVITA more than 17,000 overnight visitors are expected to travel to Sydney to see the production, generating an estimated $14 million in overnight visitor expenditure," Mr Marshall said.

"Securing EVITA further cements Sydney as Australia's home of musical theatre and we look forward to welcoming the full cast to our Harbour City when the production opens in September at the Sydney Opera House."

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's EVITA is iconic, with more than 20 major awards to its credit including the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Musical, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for the film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas.

Featuring some of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's best loved songs including 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina', 'On This Night of a Thousand Stars', 'You Must Love Me' and 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall', EVITA charts the story of Eva Perón, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Perón, from her humble beginnings through to the extraordinary wealth, power and status which ultimately led her to be heralded as the 'spiritual leader of the nation'.

Legendary Broadway director Hal Prince has won 21 Tony Awards, more than any person in history. Hal Prince will be joined by fellow original West End creative team members including choreographer Larry Fuller and designer Timothy O'Brien.

This musical captured the attention of the public when it was first staged in 1978 and in its 40th year and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 70th year, Opera Australia, John Frost and David Ian are thrilled to bring this "modern masterpiece" (New York Post) to Australia in all its original glory.

Produced by special arrangement with The Really Useful Group

evitathemusical.com.au

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