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The “Evita” that Broadway by the Bay is producing at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City is quite extraordinary, but it isn’t actually due to Alicia Gangi Malone, who plays the title role. Malone is a spunky actress and she’s intriguing to watch, at least until Eva’s ambition consumes her and makes her rather featureless. But because of Alex Rodriguez’ strong, indelible performance as Che Guevara (in real life the freedom fighter and charismatic sidekick of Fidel Castro), it isn’t unreasonable to suggest renaming this version “Che.” Rodriguez is that remarkable.
Whether or not it was the musical’s original intention, time and again director Jason Hoover places Che at the center of nearly every scene, wandering in and out like a one-man Greek chorus while providing an angry, edgy commentary about what’s going on with Eva, He is what gives this show its gravitas, Not alone, of course, because choreographer Alex Hsu (himself a Broadway by the Bay “Evita” performer back in 2002) has fashioned several standout production numbers done with precision by vigorous young dancers, Hsu smartly makes the small band of Argentine militia march in lockstep not unlike the tin soldiers in “The Nutcracker.” Other dance highlights are the thrilling “A New Argentina” number which ends Act 1 on a high-spirited, triumphant note, and, later, an umbrella-toting “upper class” knot of dancers who glide across ballet shoe sizing abcd the stage in unison while morphing into different shapes..
Another reason this production works well is Hoover’s and technical director Robert Christiansen’s creative weaving of one scene into the next almost seamlessly. Margaret Toomey’s costumes are equally impressive, especially the fine military uniforms worn by Juan Peron (a thoughtful but rather bland Anthony Bernal) and his men, as well as the full range of outfits for Malone (a simple peasant dress in the first scene, furs and jewels later, culminating in a gorgeous white ensemble for Evita when her husband is inaugurated as Argentina’s president). Later, before heading out on what was called the “Rainbow Tour” of European countries to meet various heads of state, Malone makes an ingenious costume change onstage while singing “they need to adore me, so Christian Dior me.”.
Che, meanwhile, warns her, “Don’t look down, It’s a long, long way to fall.”, Ah, those witty Rice lyrics, One of the problems with Malone’s portrayal is that her voice in Act 1 is too shrill, especially on the high notes, The result is ballet shoe sizing abcd that sometimes it’s impossible to understand the words she’s singing, This is a problem in a musical like “Evita,” where all of the dialogue is sung, She fares better when singing “I’d Be Surprisingly Good for You,” seducing Peron with her playful sensuality, She also delivers in the musical’s most well-known song, “Don’t Cry for me Argentina.”..
Two other performers stand out in smaller roles: One is Daniel Hurst who plays Evita’s first conquest, Agustin Magaldi, the man who agrees to take her with him to Buenos Aires even though he warns her musically in “Eva, Beware of the City.”. As Peron’s mistress, Samantha Cardenas has but a few minutes on stage, but she makes them count as she reflectively sings the poignant “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”. It’s never easy to conduct Lloyd Webber’s scores, but musical director David Moschler and his 16-piece orchestra are up to the task, despite its eclectic range — Latin, to be sure, but with tinges of classical and rock music as well.
The orchestra’s sound is at times lush, at times soft (for a ballad such as “Another Suitcase”), yet big and bombastic for the large company numbers, Other than the problems understanding Malone’s words in the first act, Jon Hayward’s sound is effective, as is Seamus Strahan-Mauk’s lighting (especially the bright purple-and-white spotlights that blink off-and-on over the stage and audience during “Charity Concert”), Scenic designer Jerald Enos created a workhorse set of three arches, mixed and matched in several configurations for the majority of scenes, Both the opening and closing numbers ballet shoe sizing abcd stand out with some terrific touches..
As the curtain opens, the entire company gathers for Eva’s solemn funeral. It isn’t remarkable until the sky turns into a spectacular sunset and — in a fittingly dramatic entrance, Rodriguez as Che grabs a massive white swath of cloth that rises up from the stage floor, tosses it away and sings sarcastically “Oh, What a Circus (‘Your queen is dead; your king is through’).”. The final scene takes the audience full circle: Back to Eva’s funeral. As if by magic, Enos transforms her death bed into her funereal casket. A notable feat.
There are a few times when a scene ends so suddenly that it catches the audience off guard, While that is obviously Hoover’s intent, it can backfire, So, while it may be acceptable after Peron and Eva’s duet of “I’d Be Surprisingly Good for You,” it doesn’t work at play’s end, In fact, on opening night the lights went out, the curtain came down, and the audience hesitatingly began clapping, It was just too abrupt, Email ballet shoe sizing abcd Joanne Engelhardt at email@example.com..