Don't cry for us, Tampa Bay! Broadway's Evita! is back at the Straz

A mini-review of the big revival at Straz this week.



I was introduced to Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical Evita! — about the rise and fall of Argentina’s once first lady — in 1996, when the movie version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas came out. I saw it at the theater a half-dozen times and played the soundtrack daily, much to my roommates’ dismay. 
Tuesday night’s performance of the show at the Straz center brought back the elation of the first time I saw it.

Caroline Bowman as Eva Peron, hits notes that Madonna did not dare try and her talent is beaming. The only thing I felt lacking from Bowman’s performance was the grit and desperateness that Peron needed at the beginning of her career. She often came across more like Barbara Streisand in The Way We Were than a young Argentinian woman struggling to gain fame and power.

Josh Young’s Che performance was completely believable and powerful. His deep booming voice helped you believe his criticisms of Peron and the struggles of the Argentinian people.

I recommend researching the story of Eva Peron before attending to help fill in the gaps left out in the two-hour performance. Criticism aside, Evita! is a classic musical that should be on the must see list of all theatergoers. The songs and story will stick with you long after.

After Tuesday night’s show, as I washed dishes and sang “Where am I going too?” a recurring lyric throughout the performance, I was awestruck by the short and sometimes hated but always fabulous life of Eva Peron.

Evita! continues at Straz Center's Carol Morsani Hall through March 23. Click here for details and tickets.

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