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'Evita' Brings Eva Peron Back to the Stage

By Shelby Horton
Staff Writer
04/13/2017 at 04:21 PM
SAN BERNARDINO>> Eva Peron, Argentina’s First Lady in 1946, is known as the “spiritual leader of the nation”, who became a voice for the working people and those scorned by the middle class. This actress born into one of the poorest classes rose to become a politically powerful and famous figure in history. The musical “Evita” highlights Eva Peron’s rise to power and becoming a political figure that made an entire nation filled with despair after her passing at the age of 33 from cancer. The Theatrical Arts Foundation and California Theatre of Performing Arts presented “Evita” to the Inland Empire’s avid theater lovers. The theater is located in San Bernardino. When approaching the grand staircase, one is reminded of a different time in history filled with glamour and class - an experience that few traditional theaters for the arts have maintained over the passage of time. After the helpful staff assisted everyone to their seats, the orchestra brought a hush over the crowd with the opening music. Eva Peron was played by Rachel Saiz with her powerful voice that underscored the character's conviction and determination to be a beacon of hope to the people, no matter the cost. She was complemented by Jeffrey Ricca, playing Che, who was not only the narrator for the tale but also the embodiment of Eva’s internal struggle. The two had amazing on-stage chemistry and harmonized both sides of Eva Peron's epic story. The choreography and staging were appropriate in assisting setting the mood for the audience and exaggerated movements to strike a point across. An extremely well-executed scene was the choreography for the musical number “The Art of Possible.” Using clever movement and dancing, the actors were able to convey political battles and Juan Peron’s (played by John George Campbell) rise to power. Overall, the play was entertaining and gave this famous actress-turned-spiritual-leader of a nation justice to her legacy.