BWW Review: Bay Street Theater's Production Of EVITA
The Bay Street Theater of Sag Harbor closes out their dazzling 27th Mainstage Season with a thrilling production of the Tony winning musical Evita under the clever direction of Will Pomerantz who also serves as Bay Street's Associate Artistic Director. Now running through September 2nd, this production boasts an absolutely brilliant cast as the adorable Long Island venue executes an innovative incarnation of the iconic Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber tuner. Now I know it may seem productions of this show are a dime-a-dozen... but this particular production really should not be missed.
The tale focuses on the life of Argentine force-to-be-reckoned-with Eva Perón centering on her rise as a major political influence until her untimely death.
Exquisitely portraying Eva is Arianna Rosario. I really could go on about her stunning voice and performances, imperiously relaying Eva's gripping speeches to her public, the emotional journey, and commanding stage presence, but I'm just sum it up saying that you will remember Ms. Rosario's Eva for quite some time. Of course, Eva meets and marries Colonel Juan Perón portrayed strongly by Omar Lopez-Cepero. Ms. Rosario and Mr. Lopez-Cepero match each other well and are believable as a married couple... fitting since they are actually a couple! To add, another highlight of the stellar cast is Trent Saunders excellently portraying Che, the show's narrator. The enthusiastic audience erupts in roaring applause particularly for his boffo renditions of "Oh What a Circus" and "High Flying, Adored".
To be included with the incredible aforementioned performances, Ms. Rosario gives an outstanding rendition of the iconic "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and the entire company is really powerful in "Montage" at the end of Act Two. Indeed, the entire score is wonderfully performed with the accompaniment of a live orchestra conducted by Camille Johnson. And once you step into the theater, you will immediately notice Anna Louizos' majestic set. This is typically a big show and one may query how this could be done in an intimate setting. As such, for this production, everything takes place in a typical tango bar in Buenos Aires using pretty much every inch of the stage even with the cast and audience being at an arm's length at times. Bay Street makes it work well as the venue is like a mini stadium where the stage is floor level with the first row right by the stage and then the rows ascend. This is fantastically highlighted by Mike Billings' lighting and Jon Weston's sound design. And Lindsay Davis' costumes are also top notch - particularly Eva's "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" stunning wedding gown inspired dress.
And so, it is quite clear that Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theater has a hit with their superb vision of Evita as they close their 2018 Mainstage Season. An inspired cast and beautiful music make for a delightful night of theatre.
Evita is presented by the Bay Street Theater of Sag Harbor, Long Island, through September 2nd. For more information or to purchase tickets please call (631) 725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org
Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Directed by Will Pomerantz, Music Supervision by Aaron Jodoin, Set Design by Anna Louizos, Lighting Design by Mike Billings, Costume Design by Lindsay Davis, Sound Design by Jon Weston, Prop Design by Andrew Diaz, Stage Management by Robert Bennett, Assistant Stage Manager is Denise Yaney, Casting by Stewart/Whitley
Starring Arianna Rosario (On Your Feet, Cats, West Side Story), Trent Saunders (Aladdin, American Idiot Tour), Omar Lopez-Cepero (On Your Feet, American Idiot, American Idol Finalist), Kyle Barisich (The Phantom of the Opera, Bay Street's My Fair Lady), and Gabi Campo (upcoming The Prom) with Julian Alvarez, Edgar Cavazos, Lauren Csete, Elisa Galindez, Danelle Rivera, Juan Guillen, Jose Ozuna, Dakota Quackenbush, and Carolina Santos Read.Photo by Lenny Stucker