Opened: Original Broadway Production - September 25, 1979.
Evita Director: Harold Prince
Evita Music By: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Evita Lyrics and Book By: Tim Rice
Theatre: Broadway Theatre
Tony Award Nominations: 11
Tony Awards Won: 7
Notes: The musical would inspire a 1996 film adaptation featuring Madonna as Eva Péron and Antonio Banderas as Che.
Evita is often considered one of the most treasured Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musicals following the life of Eva Péron, Argentina's beloved first lady who spoke out on behalf of women's suffrage, labor rights and was even named "the spiritual leader of the nation" by the Argentine Congress. The show got its start in London on June 21, 1978 and would run for 2,900 performances. This international buzz certainly helped the production's Broadway debut, which would be a critical smash that would spark international tours and revivals.
The musical follows the life of Eva Péron who went from poverty to become one of the national heroes of Argentina. Evita begins in a crowded theatre in Buenos Aires where the crowd first learns of the death of Eva. As the musical shows the mass grief that envelops the country, the character Che emerges and becomes the narrator that tells Eva Péron's story. After having an affair with a singer named Agustin Magaldi in her hometown of Junin, Eva begins to launch her own performing career and would achieve the fame and success she always desired. During one of her performances, she meets an Argentine Colonel named Juan Péron, who would soon become the president.
The story then follows Juan's ascendance to the nation's top post, and shows Eva’s journey as a champion of the poor and workers' rights. The play also follows her journey through Europe where she is disheartened by the aristocratic nature of the society and pledges her full efforts toward improving Argentina. She founds the Eva Péron Foundation and earns the title of "Santa Evita." Even when she realizes that she has been stricken with cancer, she pursues the vice presidency to deter a military coup against her husband. Finally, upon Eva's renouncement of her post, she swears her love for the country and seemingly completes her legend.
Evita turned out to be a runaway Broadway hit that would last for 1,567 performances at the Broadway Theatre. The show would win seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Score, Featured Actor and Actress and Director. It would also win multiple Drama Desk Awards and Olivier Awards. Evita is now one of the hottest new revivals on Broadway, opening in April 2012 and looks to continue its run as one of the most popular musicals in theatre history.