BWW Review: EVITA at Fulton Theatre
Lancaster's Fulton Theatre gets their 2019-20 season started off with a bang with Evita. This production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera is a vibrant, emotional piece with attention to detail. As a simple, yet telling example, when the title character sings her iconic ballad, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", she sings about her homeland with the accurate Spanish pronunciation of "ar-HEN-tina", rather than the Anglicized "ar-JIN-tina". That thoughtful, extra flair is a perfect representation of the dozens of choices, director and choreographer, Marc Robin made to bring this show to life.
Monica Ramirez makes her welcomed Fulton debut as Eva Peron. Her portrayal shows all sides of this flawed title character. Eva Peron was accused of sleeping her way to the top of Argentinian politics, yet was loved and admired by the masses. Ramirez has an especially powerful belt, and conveys emotions of passion, anger, and frustration through song with great conviction (and volume).
Enrique Acevedo compliments her as husband and ambitious Argentinian leader, Juan Peron. Acevedo succeeds at this complex role, playing an individual who is charismatic in front of the masses, yet is not afraid to rule with an iron fist behind the scenes.
The third lead in Evita's triangle is the gifted Omar Lopez-Cepero as Che. Che represents the show's narrator, instigator, and critic. In retrospect, the role has some similar functions to Judas in Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. Lopez-Cepero weaves his character into and out of scenes under various guises including waiter, doorman, and reporter. This allows him to slyly and sardonically comment on the action. I also loved his Fonzie-like ability to magically snap his fingers to make things happen. These choices help the audience understand that the character exists on more symbolic level, rather than a literal (and historically inaccurate) portrayal of Che Guevara.
Scenic design by Charles A. Kading was abstract and minimalistic, yet appropriate. A significant number of projected photographs and images throughout the night provided ample context. Conductor, A. Scott Williams and his merry band keeps the showing moving with a percussion focused score.
Evita has already been extended through October 20th, so there is no excuse for you not to come out and indulge in an offering from the best theater Lancaster County has to offer. Tickets and more information can be found on their website.