The First National Tour of the 2012 Broadway revival of Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice’s 1978 West End and 1979 Broadway blockbuster musical, Evita, will perform in the magnificent 2,700-seat Durham Performing Arts Center for eight performances on March 11-16. The 2012 Broadway revival, which was directed by Michael Grandage and choreographed by Rob Ashford, opened on April 5, 2012 at the Marquis Theatre, and closed on January 26, 2013, after 337 performances. It received three 2012 Tony Award nominations, including a nomination as Best Revival of a Musical and Best Choreography.
The stellar tour cast, under the direction of Seth Sklar-Heyn with choreography by Chris Bailey and associate choreographer Jennie Ford, includes Kinky Boots original cast member Caroline Bowman as Argentina’s flamboyant First Lady Maria Eva Duarte de Perón (1919-52), a.k.a. “Evita”; Tony Award® nominee Josh Young as an Argentinean Everyman named Ché, who serves as an acerbic commentator on the meteoric rise and premature death from cancer at age 33 of Evita; Sean McLaughlin as ambitious Argentinean Army Colonel and later twice President Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974); Christopher Johnstone as Evita’s former meal ticket the third-rate nightclub crooner Augustin Magaldi; Krystina Alabado as the Perón’s last Mistress before Evita; and Desi Oakley as the alternate for Eva Perón.
Originally a 1976 concept album, Evita was fashioned into a West End musical with the help of American director Harold Prince. The show premiered on June 21, 1978 at the Prince Edward Theatre in London, where it played for 3,176 performances before closing on February 18, 1986. It won the 1978 Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
The original Broadway production of Evita, also directed by Harold Prince, debuted on September 25, 1979 at the Broadway Theatre, where it played for 1,567 performances, before closing on June 26, 1983. The show won seven 1980 Tony Awards, including the Tonys for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical, plus six 1980 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music, and Outstanding Lyrics.
One legacy of Harold Prince’s interpretation of the original West End and Broadway productions of Evita is the portrayal of Ché, who serves as the show’s narrator and was originally conceived as an Argentinean Everyman, as a doppelgänger for dashing Argentina-born Marxist and Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto Guevara (1928-67), a.k.a. “El Ché” or just “Ché.” But the First National Tour of the 2012 Broadway Revival doesn’t follow suit.
“That’s probably the biggest difference between our production and previous productions,” says 24-year-old Phoenix, AZ native Krystina Alabado, who plays The Mistress whom Eva Duarte banishes when she sets her cap for the handsome Juan Perón. Alabado adds, “Josh Young plays Ché — which means ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’ in Spanish — as just a storyteller, someone the audience can relate to….
“I’ve actually never seen a production of Evita besides the one I’m in,” she confesses. “It’s so beautiful, and our cast is so strong. Sometimes I’m onstage, and I think, ‘How did we get so lucky to have this as our company?'”
The creative team for the First National Tour of the 2012 Broadway revival of Evita also includes producers Hal Luftig, Scott Sanders Productions, and Troika Entertainment; Tony Award-winning scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram, Tony-winning lighting designer Neil Austin, Olivier Award-winning sound designer Mick Potter, wig and hair designer Richard Mawbey, projection designer Zachary Borovay, music supervisor Kristen Blodgette, and music director/conductor William Waldrop. The touring production also features orchestrations are by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Cullen and dance arrangements by David Chase.
Krystina Alabado says, “This production adds the song ‘You Must Love Me’ that Madonna sings in the  movie; but we’re pretty much the exact same show as the 2012 Broadway revival, although the set has been downsized for the tour.
“In the recent Broadway revival, a little girl sand ‘Santa Evita,’ but a mother sings it to Evita on tour,” notes Alabado. She adds, ” The cool thing about this show and this tour is that it’s almost like a historical piece. You learn about Eva Duarte from age 15 to her death at age 33.”
There are so many conflicting accounts or her life, says Krystina Alabado, who adds, “We did a lot of research, so we can see her from every different angle possible. Some people idolize her; some people think she’s the worst person ever.”
Alabado adds, “My role is kind of interesting…. I’m the only other woman who sings [a solo] in the show besides Evita…. I play Perón’s last mistress before he marries Eva Duarte. When he brings her home, she kicks me out and throws my clothes at me. Then I sing the song ‘A Suitcase in Another Hall.’ …
“It’s a pretty simple song, but it’s difficult to sing,” claims Alabado. “It goes to a very high place…. But the song perfectly fits my voice.
“As a vocalist,” Alabado says, “some things just click. There’s also something about the simplicity of what she sings…. It’s an almost direction correlation to the business I’m in. In all of my auditions and in the rehearsals in New York, our musical director told me that the only way to make this song work is to make it hopeful. Girls in auditions tend to make it sad.” (Click here to hear Alabado sing “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”)
Krystina Alabado was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, and studied musical theater for a year at Arizona State University in her hometown before embarking on her acting and singing career.
“I grew up in a very musical family,” she reports. “My father plays guitar and sings. He played in a Brazilian jazz band.” Indeed, her first public performance, at age 8, was singing “The Girl from Ipanema” with her father’s band.
Is her family Brazilian? “No,” she laughs, “that’s so funny. My father is from Mexico, and my mom’s from Beirut, Lebanon. So, I’m actually Mexican-Lebanese.”
Bitten by the theater bug at age 12 or 13, Krystina Alabado performed in a variety of school plays and community productions. Then she got her first big break while she was a freshman at Arizona State.
“I booked my first Broadway tosur when I was 18,” she recalls, “and I left Phoenix at that time [to perform in the First National Tour of Spring Awakening]…. I was in the ensemble, and I understudied all five female parts.
“[Spring Awakening] is one of the most ingenious things that I’ve ever worked on, and probably ever will work on…,” declares Krystina Alabado. “It’s very close to my heart.”
When people ask her if she went to college, she tells them she went to Spring Awakening, which toured from 2008 to 2010. After that, she says, she moved to New York; and, after six months of toiling on various local stages, she made her Broadway debut in American Idiot.
“I was a member of the ensemble and understudied the two lead [female] roles…. I got to do the show with Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of Green Day. I have never felt more like a rock star than when I was in American Idiot [from February to April 2011].”
She adds, “I came in at the end of the [Broadway] run. It was very shortlived, but it was awesome. that was the reason that I went on the First National Tour of Spring Awakening for about nine months.”
Winning her role as The Mistress in the First National Tour of the 2012 Broadway revival of Evita was a much more arduous process. (For American Idiot, she says, “I had one audition, went to the final callback the next day, and got word that I got the role that afternoon.”)
Krystina Alabado says, “By the time I finally got cast in Evita, I think I had had nine auditions over six months. But I have always wanted this role, and I have always wanted to sing this song….
“They put me through the riunger,” she says, “and I’m really glad they did…. I am really honored that they cast me.”
SECOND OPINION: March 12th Durham, NC Herald-Sun review by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x1001076132/REVIEW-Music-of-Evita-never-leaves-you and March 6th preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/entertainment/x398964624/The-power-of-political-celebrity-Evita-on-tour (Note: You must register to read these articles); and March 12th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Zack Smith: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/evita/Event?oid=3768847.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents EVITA at 7:30 p.m. March 12 and 13, 8 p.m. March 14, 2 and 8 p.m. March 15, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 16 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco District.
TICKETS: $42.75-$121.75 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-2787, , or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/844915.
GROUP RATES (20+ tickets): 919-281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services.
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/evita and https://www.facebook.com/events/612833728733048/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Vc3_E1r30.
THE TOUR: http://www.evitaonbroadway.com/tour.html, https://www.facebook.com/EvitaTour, and https://twitter.com/EvitaTour.
THE TOUR CAST: http://www.evitaonbroadway.com/cast.html.
THE TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.evitaonbroadway.com/creative.html.
SUNTRUST BROADWAY SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series-2014-15.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, and https://twitter.com/DPAC.
Maria Eva Duarte de Perón, a.k.a. “Evita” (First Lady of Argentina, 1919-52): http://www.evitaperon.org/ (Eva Perón Historical Research Foundation) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Peron (Wikipedia).
Evita (1976 concept album and 1978 West End, 1979 Broadway musical, and 2012 Broadway revival): http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/shows/?show=Evita (Andrew Lloyd Webber), http://www.timrice.co.uk/evita.html (Tim Rice), http://www.reallyuseful.com/shows/evita/ (Really Useful Group page), http://www.evitaonbroadway.com/ (2012-13 Broadway revival), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=3400 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evita_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia).
Study Guide: http://www.evitaonbroadway.com/img/Evita-Study-Guide.pdf (2012-13 Broadway revival).
Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber (music): http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Lloyd_Webber (Wikipedia).
Sir Tim Rice (book and lyrics): http://www.timrice.co.uk/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Rice (Wikipedia).
Evita (1996 film): http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/300915/Evita/ (TCM Movie Database), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116250/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evita_%28film%29 (Wikipedia).
Krystina Alabado (actress): http://www.krystinaalabado.com/ (official website), http://krystinaalabado.blogspot.com/ (her blog), https://www.facebook.com/pages/Krystina-Alabado/140842489325 (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/KrystinaAlabado (Twitter page), and http://ibdb.com/person.php?ID=490564 (Internet Broadway Database).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)