A 20th-anniversary production of Evita checks into the Pantages Theatre May 12 for a 15-performance-only engagement. Natalie Toro and Ana Maria Adricain share the lead role.
Evita premiered May 9, 1979 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in L.A. and later transferred to New York's Broadway Theatre, after setting records for the largest box office advance.
The current touring production of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is directed and choreographed by its original Tony-nominated choreographer, Larry Fuller, and features new set and costume designs from Timothy O'Brien, and new orchestrations.
In a departure from previous productions, the show's four leads have all been cast with Latin actors. In addition to Toro and Andricain, Raul Esparza plays Che, and Jaramillo McLeod is Juan Peron. According to a company spokesperson, the new Evita differs from precedent by incorporating "a more authentic feel to all aspects of the production, from casting to choreography and orchestrations. Much of the score has been re-orchestrated to infuse Buenos Aires salsa rhythms, while choreographer Fuller is re-staging to include authentic Argentine tango."
Andricain recently won raves as Belle in the Broadway and national touring productions of Beauty and the Beast. Toro has been a Broadway fixture since she became the first American cast as Eponine in Les Miserables. She just completed a long run as another Lloyd Webber heroine, Grizabella in Cats. Produced by Manny Kladitis, Magicworks Entertainment and Pace Theatrical group, Evita's L.A. engagement is presented as part of the ongoing Broadway/L.A. Musical Season.
The musical will play through May 30 at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Call (213) 365-3500 or www.ticketmaster.com.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent