BWW Review: EVITA at MUSIC THEATRE OF DENTON

BWW Review: EVITA at MUSIC THEATRE OF DENTONIt's the story of a young woman and her incredible rise to power in the country that loves her. Music Theatre of Denton's EVITA, directed by Kyle Christopher West, continues this weekend at Campus Theatre.

The story is narrated by Che (Michael McCray), who is quick to establish his place as an audience favorite as he examines the life of the former First Lady of Argentina. It is up to McCray to counter the adoration of the Argentinian ensemble as they lament the loss of their dear Evita. His strong voice and sincere performance contribute to his success, as he leads the audience to question whether Eva Peron was truly a hero.

Audience members will immediately notice the skilled choreography (by Kyle Christopher West), which propels this musical forward through each scene. From the mournful opening song in which the ensemble enters from every direction to grieve the loss of the First Lady, to the technically challenging tango numbers - the actors' movements are precise and purposeful. A creative set that allows the performers to make use of two stories featuring dynamic staircases, and period-appropriate costumes designed by Jonathan Martin successfully transport the audience to mid-1900s Argentina.

The opening night performance featured a few missed lighting and sound cues during the first act, along with some tricky harmonies that didn't hit quite the right note. But this was all forgotten by the second act, which was practically flawless. By this point in the story, Eva Peron has solidly established herself as an Argentinian leader, while her portrayal by Alena Cardenez has landed the actress in the hearts of each audience member. Cardenez lends a beautiful voice, fluid movements, and heartfelt emotion to her portrayal of the First Lady. This actress has learned the lines you'd like to hear.

BWW Review: EVITA at MUSIC THEATRE OF DENTON
Peron (Scott Deck) & Eva (Alena Cardenez)
Photo Credit: Michael C. Foster

Other notable performances include Scott Deck - who provides a strong voice and stage presence for President Peron, complimenting Cardenez's performance much as the president supports his wife. And though her time on the stage is short, Gabie Hocson is perfect as Peron's Mistress - her lovely voice and chilling portrayal of the young woman seeming to linger even after she exits the stage.

This show is well worth the trip to the Campus Theatre. Whether it is your first experience traveling back to the time of Eva Peron, or you are familiar with this particular story, you will likely find yourself questioning the character of the famous figure. EVITA closes this weekend. Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd performances begin at 7:30. Sunday matinee begins at 2:00. Tickets are $15 for students, $20 for adults. For more information, visit https://www.musictheatreofdenton.com/.

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