Tim Rice began by writing a very factual first draft of the show. Famed American director Hal Prince wanted to do a stage production, but had ideas of his own about what should be done and was booked for at least a year. Instead of going to the stage first, Tim and Andrew Lloyd Webber followed their previous route, and released a double album of the show-to-be in November of 1976. (Andrew and Tim also produced the recording.) Julie Covington sang the part of Eva Peron, and her "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" reached number 1 on the charts in February of 1977 (and reached the number one slots in other countries as well). Colm Wilkinson (then going by the name C. T. Wilkinson) sang the part of Che, Paul Jones was Juan Peron, and Tony Christie sang the part of Magaldi. Barbara Dickson, as Peron's Mistress, had a hit with "Another Suitcase In Another Hall". In Britain, Australia, South Africa, South America, and various parts of Europe, sales of Evita were greater than sales of Jesus Christ Superstar had been.
When Evita opened at the Prince Edward Theater on 21 June 1978, the box office advance had exceeded $500,000. Elaine Paige won rave reviews, becoming a star over night and later receiving a SWET award -- as did the show. Evita received three 1977/1978 Ivor Novello awards for "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" : Most Performed Song, Best Song, and International Hit of the Year. The show won a 1978/1979 Novello for Best Musical. David Essex had a number 3 hit with "Oh What A Circus" arranged by Mike Batt.
The Broadway production opened on 25 September 1979 with Patti LuPone in the title role at the Broadway Theatre. (There had been discussion of Elaine Paige coming to the US, but nothing ever came of it.) Mandy Patinkin played Che, Bob Gunton was Peron, Jane Ohringer played Peron's Mistress, and Mark Syers was Magaldi. The show and cast won seven Tony Awards at the 8 June 1980 ceremony held at the Mark Hellinger, including Best Broadway Musical, Best Score of a Broadway Musical shared by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Tony for Best Book of a Broadway Musical for Tim. The show went on to play around the world in various places such as Madrid, Sydney, and Vienna. The Mexican production opened at the Teatro Ferrocarrilero on 22 June 1981, and ran for one and a half years.
In 1981 Paramount acquired the rights, with Robert Stigwood slated to co-produce. Ken Russell was brought on to direct, but then was dismissed from the project. The idea of Evita as a movie didn't go away though, and in the mid 1980's Madonna decided she wanted in the picture and met with Stigwood. In 1987/88, Oliver Stone became involved and Weintrabu Entertainment Group (WEG) acquired the film rights from Paramount. Madonna was still looking to star in the picture, but reportedly she meet with Oliver Stone for 15 minutes and found they could not work together.
By 1989 Meryl Streep was supposed to be staring in the picture, but both she and WEG later backed out. In 1990 Stigwood struck a deal with Disney, and in early June he, Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Madonna, and Disney executives met in New York to discuss the project. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the Disney film studio at the time, was said to be very pro-Evita and pro-Madonna. The director eventually picked was Glenn Gordon Caron.
In January of 1991, Meryl Streep was reportedly upset that Madonna would be staring in the movie -- it looked like this time there actually was going to be a movie. However, the estimated budget for the film soon exceeded what Disney was willing to deal with, and the project was put on hold yet again . . .
Until 1993 when Disney decided to try again, with Oliver Stone as director (again). Stone closed the deal with Disney on 10 December 1993. Tim Rice said at a gathering for The Lion King in July of 1994 that he got signed on to Disney because he "was walking around the Disney lot, hoping someone would make a film of 'Evita'. I'm still waiting.".
Instead of Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer was named the Evita-to-be in 1994, with Antonio Banderas as Che. The movie was still in Disney and Stone's hands. Stone met with Argentine president Carlos Menem in the summer of 1994 who at first seemed agreeable, but then decided that the movie could not be shot on location after all. And then it got quiet again.
In late March 1995, the talks began yet again. Madonna was signing a deal with Arnold Rifkin who was friends with Andrew G. Vajna -- who was in control of the movie with Robert Stigwood. In a round about way, it meant that the movie with Madonna was on again.
This time the plans did not slink back into oblivion.
Early in 1996, Madonna reportedly tried to contact all those who had played the role of Eva Peron before to gather information about the part. Madonna arrived in Buenos Aires on Saturday, 20 January 1996 to begin filming on location. Her presence stirred up publicity between die-hard Madonna fans thrilled at her arrival, and die-hard Peronists horrified at her portraying their "Saint". As late as 19 February, Menem was still deciding whether or not the movie would allow scenes to be shot at the Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace). He eventually agreed, and the Casa Rosada scenes were shot on 9 and 10 March 1996 with extras from the local population. By the end of March, Madonna was receiving more acceptance in the role. After the filming in Buenos Aires, the shooting was moved to Budapest, Hungary for six weeks, and then onward to wrap up shooting in London. The entire filming for Evita finished on Saturday, 25 May 1996, and the editing began on 14 June.
For the film, the song "The Lady's Got Potential" was included with all new lyrics except for the Cinderella bit. Madonna sang "Another Suitcase In Another Hall". Most of "The Art Of The Possible" was cut. An entire new song, "You Must Love Me", was added for the final bedroom scene. A 10-minute preview of the movie was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in June of 1996, and received glowing reviews and praise. A special about the making of Evita, with interviews with Madonna, was shown on MTV in June of 1996. A minute and a half trailer for the film was released on 31 July.
The complete soundtrack release date was changed from 12 November 1996 to 5 November and then back to 12 November in the US, and it was released on 25 November 1996 internationally. The first single was to have been "You Must Love Me" with "Oh What A Circus" on the B side -- it was to be shipped to US radio stations on 1 October 1996, and available for purchase in stores on 15 October. Instead, "You Must Love Me" was released to the public on 29 October in the US and on 21 October in the UK with "Rainbow High" on the B side.
On 9 October, the video for "You Must Love Me" was shown on MTV, and the single started to receive airplay. ("Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Another Suitcase In Another Hall", and "Buenos Aires" were to be issued later.) The video premiered on MTV Europe on 15 October 1996.
"You Must Love Me" entered Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, published on 26 October 1996, at number 55. It was the highest-charting debut single that week. It debuted at #10 in the UK charts.
A Uni-CD highlight album of the show was available Internationally (with the US and Canada being exceptions). The Warner Brothers double CD soundtrack was available in stores starting on 12 November 1996 in the US, 18 November in the UK, and was available on 25 November 1996 Internationally. The soundtrack was orchestrated by Andrew Lloyd Webber with additional orchestrations by David Cullen. It was produced by Nigel Wright, Alan Parker, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and David Caddick. It debuted at number 6 on Bilboard's Top Ten albums list. By mid-May 1997, the soundtrack had sales of over 2 million in the US.
Evita premiered in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium on 14 December 1996. The London premiere was on 20 December 1996. It opened on Wednesday, 25 December in New York City and Los Angeles, with the world premiere on 10 January 1997 in the United States and 17 January 1997 in other countries.
To accompany the film, Alan Parker wrote a book called "The Making of Evita". It was published in both hardcover and paperback editions in December 1996 and included 140 movie stills.
The film of Evita ended its first week at number two.
"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" enjoyed chart success as a dance mix. The International version was released in January 1997. After one day of US sales, it appeared at #17 on the Billboard Singles Chart.
Evita was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards: Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (Madonna), Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy (Antonio Banderas), Best Director (Alan Parker), Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me"). The 54th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony was held on 19 January 1997. Evita won three of the five -- Best Musical or Comedy, Madonna as Best Actress, and Best Original Song for "You Must Love Me". Tim Rice accepted the award for the song and paid tribute to the late David Land.
"Another Suitcase In Another Hall" was Internationally released in March 1997. It debuted at #7 in the UK charts in the last week of March. There were two international releases, one featuring "You Must Love Me" and movie postcards, and the other with "You Must Love Me" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". The US release was cancelled.
Evita was nominated for five Oscars at the 69th annual Academy Awards (art direction, cinematography, film editing, original song, sound), and won for the song "You Must Love Me". Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber accepted the Oscar together at the ceremony held on 24 March 1997. This marked Tim's third original song Oscar ("A Whole New World" with Alan Menken & "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" with Elton John) and Andrew's first.
Although the release of the "Buenos Aires" single was put on hold world-wide, several radio stations received copies anyway. A highlight album, Evita: Selections From The Motion Picture Soundtrack was available internationally by July 1997, except in the US. The US debut was slated for 17 June, but was then moved to 29 July 1997.
The video was available for rental in the UK on 23 June 1997, 15 July 1997 in Argentina, and was released in the US on 5 August. It was in video stores world-wide by mid September 1997. After about six months from the time the video was available to rent, it went on sale to the general public. The UK release was in early November 1997.
There were three laserdisc versions of the film released 19 August 1997 : Dolby Digital widescreen, DTS wide screen, and a special edition version from Criterion. The prices were tentatively set before release at around $40, $60, and $125 respectively. The movie itself is 135 minutes, but the Criterion disc also includes screen tests, demo tapes, commentary by Alan Parker, a 42 minute programme "The Making Of Evita", trailers, and the "You Must Love Me" video. At first there wasn't going to be a DVD release, but a DVD version was made and released in Australia and Denmark on 1 October 1997, and in the US and Canada on 3 February 1998.
Almost synonymous with the plans of the movie definitely happening was talk of a Broadway revival. There was even more talk as of the end of February 1998, but no production was staged.
Plans were made to stage a production of Evita in Mexico, in August of 1997. The plans changed, and the show wound up starting previews on 9 October 1997 for a 19 October opening at the Teatro Silvia Pinal in Mexico City. Larry Fuller not only choreographed, but directed as well. Sets were by Chirs Nass; lighting by Richard Winckler; sound by Abe Jacob; and costumes by Nuria Marroqui. The show starred Rocio Banquells as Evita, who had played the role in the original Mexican production, and Jose Lavat as Peron.
On 18 May 1998, at the 15th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards, "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" was honored by being included on the list as one of the most performed songs in the ASCAP repertory for 1997.
A new theatrical Latin-esque tour of Evita was put on by Manny Kladitis, Magicworks Entertainment, and Pace Theatrical Group. Journeying across the United States, the tour premiered at the Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, on 3 November 1998. It was to have taken up residence on Broadway in the Fall of 1999, but these plan never came to fruition. Making yet another return to Evita, the tour was directed by Larry Fuller, the original Broadway choreographer. It was designed by Timothy O'Brien who also served as designer on Broadway. This version of Evita starred Natalie Toro in the title role, Raul Esparza as Che, and Raymond Jaramillo McLeod as Peron.
On 26 March 2002 Decca released a 13-track highlights CD of the original Broadway cast album.
Through Troika Entertainment, another U.S. / North American Evita tour opened in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 November 2004 and played through 14 November 2004. The tour was again directed by Larry Fuller, but this time the original director Hal Prince was also onboard to oversee the entire creative process. At the end of September 2004, it was announced that Kathy Voytko would play Eva Peron. Bradley Dean was cast as Che, Kate Manning as Peron's Mistress and Gabriel Burrafato as Magaldi. After Boston, the tour played in Chicago, Illinois at the Auditorium Theatre from 16-28 November 2004, in Appleton, Wisconsin at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center from 14-19 December 2004, and in Wallingford, Connecticut at the Oakdale Theatre from 8-13 Februrary 2005. The tour continued through the summer of 2005: Memphis, TN - 26-31 July (Orpheum Theatre); Atlanta, GA - 2-7 August (Fox Theatre); Montreal, PQ - 30 August - 4 September (Pelletier); Cincinnati, OH - 6-18 September (Aronoff Center); Houston, TX - 20 September - 2 October 2005 (Hobby Center); Costa Mesa, CA - 4-9 October (Segerstrom Hall/OCPAC); Tampa, FL - 8-13 November (TBPAC); Ft. Lauderdale - 15-27 November (Aurene Theatre); San Antonio, TX - 29-4 December(Majestic Theatre); Tempe, AZ - 6-11 December (Gammage).
In January 2005, Michael Grandage and Christopher Oram were attached to the production as director and set designer respectively. Rob Ashford was brought onboard as choreographer. Casting for the production began in late summer of 2005 with the expectation that the revival, produced by the Really Useful Group, would open in the summer of 2006. During a radio interview with Simon May on 5 January 2006, Andrew Lloyd Webber confirmed the plans to bring the show's music closer to the story's Latin roots, and indicated that the production would open in June 2006 at the Adelphi Theatre.
By mid-January, casting was completed. A press conference was held at the Langham Hotel on 31 January 2006 at which it was revealed that the coveted title role was to go to Elena Roger, an actress from Argentina. She sang "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" to the assembled media accompanied on the piano with the new multi-coloured Evita logo as a backdrop. It was also announced that Matt Rawle was cast as Che and Philip Quast as Peron. In addition to Grandage, Ashford and Oram, further production team members were announced: Simon Lee as musical director, Paule Constable as lighting designer, and Mick Potter as sound designer. Andre Ptaszynski, who had been appointed acting Chief Executive of the Really Useful Group in December 2005, would produce Evita for the Really Useful Theatre Company. At the end of April 2006, the final principal cast members were announced : Lorna Want was cast as Peron's Mistress and Gary Milner as Magaldi. Tickets went on sale 31 January 2006 through the show's official site at http://www.evitathemusical.com.
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared on ITV's Parkinson show 11 March 2006 to discuss the Evita revival, and Elena Roger presented her "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". The duo again stressed a more Latin-esque score and the inclusion of the Oscar-winning number "You Must Love Me".
The first rehearsal for Evita took place on 18 April 2006. On 20 April 2006, both Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber were on hand along with the other members of the revival's creative team to address the entire cast and outline the show's development over the coming weeks.
Previews for Evita began at the Adelphi Theatre on Friday, 2 June 2006. Evita had its first night on Wednesday, 21 June 2006 (the same date as the original 1978 production). In keeping with the theme of the evening, the first night party was held at the Argentine restaurant Gaucho Grill in Piccadilly. The opening was also attended by Elaine Paige and Susannah Fellows, the original and alternate Eva's from the 1978 production. The critics praised the production (including the book and songs) and proclaimed Elena Roger a star.
It had initially been hoped that the cast album it would be ready for a pre-opening 19 June 2006 release, but this was not possible. Although the date was then moved to 17 July 2006, the cast album was not ultimately released until 14 August 2006 in the UK. The United States release date was 24 October 2006.
Evita received four nominations on 9 November 2006 for the 52nd Annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards. It was nominated for Best Musical, star Elena Roger was nominated for the Milton Shulman Award For Outstanding Newcomer, director Michael Grandage was nominated for the Sydney Edwards Award For Best Director, and Christopher Oram was nominated for Best Design.
Elena Roger was named among the top 100 most influential people in theatre by The Stage in its annual list published 29 December 2006. Designer Christopher Oram was also included, as was director Michael Grandage who took the number ten spot.
On 18 January 2007 the Laurence Olivier Award nominations for 2006 productions were announced. Among the nominations are four for Evita: Elena Roger for Best Actress In A Musical, Philip Quast for Best Actor In A Musical, Rob Ashford for Best Theatre Choreography, and Evita for Outstanding Musical Production.
The West End revival of Evita played its final performance on 26 May 2007.
Due in part to scheduling conflicts with productions Michael Grandage had already committed to, Evita would not be able to open in 2011. Instead, the initial announcement indicated that Evita would begin performances in April 2012. The show's budget was estimated $8-9 million. Although no specific venue had been booked, Evita was to play at one of the Nederlander Organization theatres. The tentative schedule was for rehearsals to begin sometime in January 2012.
At the 64th Annual Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall on 13 June 2010, Ricky Martin served as an award presenter. Michael Grandage took home the Tony Award for best director of a play for his work on Red. Rob Ashford was nominated for best choreographer the fourth year in a row for his work on the Promises, Promises revival.
An Equity casting call for chorus singers was held on 3 February 2011. On 9 August 2011 it was announced that the role of Peron was to be played by Broadway veteran Michael Cerveris who at the time was likely more familiar to Americans as The Observer on the hit television show "Fringe". It was also revealed that Evita would be playing at the Marquis Theatre and that rehearsals would commence in February 2012. The reminder of the cast and creative team was announced on 8 December 2011. Max Von Essen was to play Magaldi and Rachel Potter the Mistress. Christina DeCicco was cast as the Altnernate Eva. As with the 2006 production, Christopher Oram would be the set designer and costume designer and Mick Potter was the sound designer. New to the show were lighting designer Neil Austin and musical director Kristen Blodgette.
Tickets for Evita went on sale at 10.00am on Saturday, 29 October 2011 via Ticketmaster. A pre-sale for members of Audience Rewards, an organisation created by theatre producers the Nederlanders, Shuberts and Jujamcyn, began on 17 October 2011. The box office at the Marquis Theatre opened on 30 January 2012.
The first publicity photo of the three principal leads was released to the press on 27 October 2011. The March 2012 issue of Vanity Fair (released in February) devoted its "Spotlight" coloumn to Ricky Martin. The article, by interviewers Laura Jacobs and David Nicolas, revealed the choreographer Rob Ashford intended to make Ricky Martin "the danciest Che ever". Entertainment Weekly named Evita first in its list of "12 Plays We're Excited For In '12" in its Stage section for 19 January 2012.
Rehearsals for Evita began 23 January 2012.
Evita began previews at the Marquis Theatre on 12 March 2012. Both Sir Tim Rice and Lord Lloyd-Webber were in attendance at the opening on 5 April 2012 and joined the cast on stage to thunderous applause during the curtain call.
The Broadway revival of Evita received nominations for all of the standard prestigious theatre awards -- Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards. Although the production did not win any of the awards it was nominated for, its sixteen nominations alone are impressive credentials.
The production received five nominations for the 2011-2012 season's 62nd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards on 23 April 2012. Evita was nominated for Outstanding Revival Of A Musical - Broadway Or Off-Broadway, Outstanding Director Of A Musical by Michael Grandage, Outstanding Choreographer by Rob Ashford, Outstanding Set Design - Play Or Musical by Christopher Oram and Outstanding Lighting Design - Play Or Musical by Neil Austin.
Nominations for the 78th Annual Drama League Awards were announced 24 April 2012, among which were three for Evita : Distinguished Revival Of A Musical and both Elena Roger and Ricky Martin in the category of Distinguished Performance Award.
Evita received five nominations for the 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards which were announced on 27 April 2012. In addition to a nomination for Outstanding Revival Of A Musical, Evita stars Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris were nominated for Outstanding Actor In A Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor In A Musical respectively, Rob Ashford was nominated for Outstanding Choreography and Neil Austin was nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design.
Nominations for the 66th annual Tony Awards were announced 1 May 2012. Evita received three Tony nominations: Best Revival Of A Musical, Michael Cerveris for Best Performance By An Actor In A Featured Role In A Musical and Rob Ashford for Best Choreography.
In the beginning of December of 2012 it was announced that Evita would close on 26 January 2013 when the contracts for its three original leads - Elena Roger (Evita), Ricky Martin (Che) and Michael Cerveris (Peron) - were up. Unable to find suitable replacements for the powerhouse trio, the producers determined to preserve the integrity and vision of the production and shutter the show. All three leads made speeches during the curtain call at the final performance thanking both those in front of and behind the curtain as well as the show's fans. The entire cast -- including swings, alternates and understudies -- appeared on stage to take a bow. Upon closing on 26 January 2013, Evita had played for approximately 26 previews and 337 performances.
In addition to the 27 tracks from the show, the cast album includes a bonus track of Elena Roger singing "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" in Spanish titled "No Llores Por Mi Argentina". The recording also features a Director's Note from Michael Grandage.
The complete track listing is: Disc One - 1. Requiem, 2. Oh What a Circus, 3. On This Night of a Thousand Stars, 4. Eva, Beware of the City, 5. Buenos Aires, 6. Good Night and Thank You, 7. The Art of the Possible, 8. Charity Concert, 9. I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You, 10. Another Suitcase in Another Hall, 11. Peron's Latest Flame, 12. A New Argentina, Disc Two - 1. On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada, 2. Don't Cry for Me Argentina, 3. High Flying, Adored, 4. Rainbow High, 5. Rainbow Tour, 6. The Chorus Girl, 7. And the Money Kept Rolling In, 8. Santa Evita, 9. Waltz for Eva and Che, 10. You Must Love Me, 11. She Is a Diamond, 12. Dice Are Rolling, 13. Eva's Final Broadcast, 14. Montage, 15. Lament, 16. No Llores Por Mi Argentina (Bonus Track).
Caroline Bowman will play Evita and Desi Oakley will be the alternate Evita. Josh Young, last seen on Broadway as Judas in Des McAnuff's Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, will play Che. The remaining leads include Sean MacLaughlin as Peron, Christopher Johnstone as Magaldi and Krystina Alabado as the Mistress. Members of the company are Ryan Bailer, Nicholas Belton, Jessica Bishop, Ronald L. Brown, Holly Ann Butler, Diana DiMarzio, Katharine Heaton, Tony Howell, Katie Huff, Patrick Oliver Jones, Ian Liberto, Alison Scirrotto and Tug Watson.
The Evita tour began at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The itinerary for the tour is as follows: Providence (RI) : 8-14 September 2013 (Providence Performing Arts Center); Chicago (IL) : 17 September - 6 October 2013 (Oriental Theater); St. Louis (MO) : 8-20 October (The Fabulous Fox); Los Angeles (CA) : 23 October - 10 November 2013 (Pantages); San Diego (CA) : 12-17 November 2013 (San Diego Civic Theater); Las Vegas (NV) : 26 November - 1 December 2013 (The Smith Center); Tempe (AZ) : 3-8 December 2013 (ASU Gammage); Costa Mensa (CA) : 10-22 December 2013 (Segerstrom Hall); Seattle (WA) : 31 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 (Paramount Theater); Portland (OR) : 7-12 January 2014 (Keller Auditorium); Denver (CO) : 15-26 January 2014 (The Buell Theater); Minneapolis (MN) : 28 January - 2 February 2014 (Orpheum Theater); Cincinnati (OH) : 18 February - 2 March 2014 (Procter & Gamble Hall - Aronoff Center For The Arts); Charlotte (NC) : 4-9 March 2014 (Blumenthal PAC); Durham (NC) : 11-16 March 2014 (Durham PAC); Tampa (FL) : 18-23 March 2014 (Carol Morsani Hall); Orlando (FL) : 25-30 March 2014 (Bob Carr PAC); West Palm Beach (FL) : 8-13 April 2014 (Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall); San Antonio (TX) : 29 April - 4 May 2014 (The Majestic Theater); Houston (TX) : 6-18 May 2014 (TUTS); Miami (FL) : 27 May - 1 June 2014 (Ziff Ballet Opera House); Atlanta (GA) : 3-8 June 2014 (Fox Theater); Buffalo (NY) : 10-15 June 2014 (Shea's PAC); Philadelphia (PA) : 17-22 June 2014 (Kimmel Center); Greenville (SC) : 24-29 June 2014 (Peace Center).
The tour is produced by The Hartman Group, the producer of the Broadway revival, and Troika Entertainment.
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