The 2002-2003 season of Tennessee Repertory Theatre ends on a high note with the musical Evita, playing May 14-25 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
The Rep production featured a cast of more than 40 with 15 students in the ensemble from Belmont University’s Musical Theatre degree program, including Nashville native, Bret Carr, and Tullahoma native, Rachel Marie More.
The production also included 13 local children from Nashville’s Children’s Choir in association with Belmont University’s School of Music who were adorable in their white convent robes and candles.
The local talent proved to be one of the high points of the pleasant production, holding their own and often surpassing the imported talent. Standout performance was from Robert Bartley as “Che” who narrated, sang, danced, marched, quipped and evidenced more emotional range than the rest of the cast combined.
Evita was full of adult situations including the promiscuous behavior of Evita and Peron, as well as scheming, manipulation, embezzlement, murder and mayhem. There was little spiritual value or redeeming quality to the story as the characters did not seem to learn from (or even recognize) their mistakes, and in fact, the most sympathetic character, was the communist guerilla leader, Che Guevera.
The costuming was noteworthy and the staging was interesting, but what was up with the incredibly annoying back lighting aimed into the tier which caused me to have to shield my eyes during most of the production and detracted (and distracted) from the performance? Note to production crew: don’t aim bright spotlights directly into the eyes of the audience for extended periods of time.
Fans of James Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice will enjoy the music which has the usual combination of recurring melodic themes, ballads and rousing, climactic numbers we have come to expect from Webber-Rice, this time with some Latin overtones thrown in for good measure. Particularly enjoyable were the vocals of Gerard Lebeda (Magaldi) and Nicole Marrale (The Mistress).
Chevy Anz Tackles Mame
Nunsense at Media Theatre
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