Review Roundup: EVITA at San Diego Rep

The international hit musical, from musical theatre stalwarts Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, stars Marisa Matthews as the infamous Argentinian first lady, Eva Perón. San Diego REP Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse helms the opening production of the theatre's 42nd season, with choreography by San Diego Ballet Artistic Director Javier Velasco.

San Diego REP presents this classic musical, in association with San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SDSCPA), beginning on Thursday, August 3, 2017 and playing through Sunday, August 27, 2017 with an opening night on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 7 p.m. on the Lyceum Stage Theatre at San Diego REP in Horton Plaza.

Starring alongside Matthews is Jeffrey Ricca ("South Pacific," "Fiddler on the Roof" national tours) as "Ché," the show's narrator and resident cynic, and San Diego veteran actor Jason Maddy ("Violet," "RED" at San Diego REP) as the populist politician and eventual President of Argentina, "Juan Perón." Victor E. Chan ("In the Heights," "The Who's Tommy" at San Diego REP) as "Magaldi" and Mikaela Celeste ("Ragtime," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas") as "Mistress" round out the principal cast.

Eva Peron's ambition and charisma made her a starlet at 22, the President's mistress at 24, First Lady Eva at 27 and dead at 33. Saint to the working-class, reviled by the aristocracy and mistrusted by the military, she left a fascinating political legacy unique in the 20th century. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world. Eva's unforgettable story is told in one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. With more than 20 major awards to its credit, "EVITA" features a Latin rock/jazz/pop score with some of the most beloved songs in musical theatre history, including "On this Night of a Thousand Stars," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina."

Let's see what the critics have to say!

San Diego Tribune (James Herbert): Conductor Lisa LeMay's 17-strong orchestra handles the various musical flavors well, and there's lots of drama and surprise to the lighting design by David Cuthbert, a welcome San Diego returnee. If you can appreciate the Rep production's admirable theatricality, you might almost forget the weaknesses of the story, which insists on denying Evita much sympathy or even humanity (and tacks on a weirdly inconclusive conclusion).

BroadwayWorld (E.H. Reiter): Jeffrey Riccas as Che is a more contemplative firebrand and narrator and he brings an appealing voice and brings a welcome sense of humor to the role. Jason Maddy brings ambition and a military focus to the role of Peron that explains both the characters drive and sense of strategy his partner Eva lacks. Victor Chan rounds out the main cast nicely as the vocally talented, if not upwardly mobile Magaldi.

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