BACKSTAGE AT THE REP: EVITA


Curious Clips: Excerpts from the Curious Report

Wednesday, August 23

THE LIFE OF EVA PERÓN

Maria Eva Duarte was born in May 7, 1919 in Los Toldos in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her parents, Juan Duarte and Juana Ibaguren, had five children, Eva being the youngest. When Juan passed away in a car accident in 1926, Juana did her best to provide for her children—working long hours—but it wasn’t enough to make ends meet. So her eldest child, Elisa, took a job at the Post Office to pitch in. When Elisa was transferred to the Junín post office, the whole family moved. As a teenager, Eva was able to convince her mother to take her to Buenos Aires to compete in a talent show which earned her a contract with a radio program that required her to relocate to Buenos Aires permanently. Eva stayed in Buenos Aires on her own.
 
As a child, Eva enjoyed reciting poetry and would do so as often as she could on any makeshift stage that she could find. She decided early on that she did not want to follow in her sibling’s footsteps and take up traditional vocations such as teaching. She was also determined not to marry and be stuck in Junín forever like most of the girls that she knew.
 
In Buenos Aires, Eva was a working actress. She took all of the radio and stage gigs that she could, even though most of them were minor. She was a member of the Compañia Argentina de Comedias until 1936. She toured with a few other companies before joining Armando Discépolo’s company in 1937. At the time, Discépolo was considered to be a very prominent director. In 1937 she appeared in the film “Segundos Afuero.” It was a small part, but from then on she started acting in films, on stage and in radio dramas. Radio was where Eva gained the most notoriety.
 
On January 15, 1944, a large earthquake destroyed much of the Argentinian town of San Juan, killing approximately 7,000 and injuring and displacing thousands more. One week later, a large festival was thrown in Luna Park Stadium and all proceeds were to go to helping the victims of the Earthquake. It was at that festival that Eva Duarte met Colonel Juan Perón and they began a relationship.
 
In 1944, Eva was chosen to sit as President for the Agrupacíon Radial Argentina union that she had founded the year before. Her career continued to blossom and her fame reached new heights.
 
On October 22, 1945, Eva Duarte legally married Juan Perón and in December of the same year, they finally had a religious ceremony. It did not take long for Eva Perón to become Evita, a cherished symbol to many in Argentina.
 
As her husband rose to political power, Evita became a symbol for the people. Eva came from humble beginnings; she represented the notion that no one is stuck in their socioeconomic standing. Eva also advocated for the poor, children and women’s right to vote. Her political influence was promising to those who had never had a voice in politics before. Her charity projects included building hospitals and parks.
 
Eva’s marriage allowed her a voice. She was able to influence her husband and support the needs of the masses and they loved her for it. She pioneered the women’s right to vote movement. Unfortunately, other politicians were not as thrilled about her involvement in politics. She quickly became the unofficial face of Peronism.
 
Eva ran for Vice President in 1950, but renounced before voting even began. Less than two years later, she died of cancer. The nation mourned her death and her body was displayed to the public for over two weeks.


 

Curious Clips: Excerpts from the Curious Report

Thursday, August 10

WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT...

working again within our Xchange Xperience program where students from San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts work alongside a professional cast and crew to bring you a version of the award-winning musical EVITA that is packed with extraordinary talent, energy and heart.

Told through a compelling score that fuses haunting chorales with exuberant Latin, pop and jazz influences, EVITA creates an arresting theatrical portrait as complex as the woman herself. “The score for EVITA is the most mature music Andrew Lloyd Webber ever wrote. EVITA uses two different styles of music to differentiate between elements of the story: Latin forms to accompany less sincere, more manipulative moments; and his own rock/pop musical language for expressions of honest emotion, fear, love, passion, anger. The one exception is the melody that is the spine for the entire score, "Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina," which straddles both worlds in its fullest expression at the beginning of Act II.” Noted Scott Miller, author of Strike Up The Band: A New History of Musical Theatre. It was this mastery that all of the artistic team was drawn to.
 
Also, we selected this piece in the months leading up to the Nov 2016 election. It addressed some of the things we were grappling with, especially how women in politics are viewed/treated as well as the overwhelming power of populism. Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse chose to direct this play himself because he felt, “EVITA is more than a musical masterpiece. The story is amazingly relevant today—a true story about a charismatic personality with no governing experience who rides ambition, opportunity and a wave of populism to political triumph and power.”

Also, at its heart, EVITA is a double love story. There is the obvious romance between Eva and Juan Perón. But this story is also about the love between Eva and the people of Argentina, the working class descamisados with whom Eva grew up. They loved her deeply and she loved them back. There are many blurred lines between fact and fiction when it comes to this story, but the millions of Argentinians loved their Evita. It is our hope that you get to experience a little of that passion in our production. Enjoy!
 
 
 
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