Stand back, video viewers, because you oughtta know what you're gonna get Aug. 5: Just a little touch of star quality, Madonna style. That's when the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita hits the video stores.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who hasn't been having his best year, finally got a break March 24, winning the 1997 Oscar for Best Original Song for "You Must Love Me," which he wrote with Tim Rice for the film.
In accepting his award, Webber drily noted, "Thank heaven there wasn't a song in The English Patient, that's all I can say."
Webber's Broadway Sunset Boulevard had closed at a loss two days earlier (his birthday), his Whistle Down the Wind closed out of town in February, and his Really Useful Company recently announced substantial layoffs.
Lyricist Rice has won Oscars twice in recent years: for "A Whole New World" ( from Aladdin) in collaboration with Alan Menken; and for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (from The Lion King) with Elton John.
The award was a bittersweet one for theatre fans. Webber and Rice haven't written together since they completed Evita in 1979. They reunited to write the one song for the film's star, Madonna, who sang it on the telecast although the Oscar committee failed to nominate her for the award. In all, Evitawas nominated in five categories, but won only for Best Original Song. The film adaptation of Evita also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy, and Madonna was named Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for playing the coveted title role.
Movie musicals have been few and far between since the 1960s, after the failure of several big-budget, old-fashioned musicals ike Hello, Dolly! and Doctor Doolittle.
Evita is one of the first 1980's-style through-sung pop-opera style musicals to be filmed. The film also stars Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron, Antonio Banderas as Che Guevara, and Jimmy Nail as Magaldi.
The film is being directed by Parker ("Fame," The Commitments, "Pink Floyd: The Wall"), who also wrote the screenplay. Cinematography is by Darius Khondji. The production has been designed by Brian Morris; costumes are by Penny Rose. Both designers worked on Parker's The Commitments and Pink Floyd: The Wall.
The film score for Evita fairly closely resembles the stage version, as those who have listened to the soundtrack (released in November) know. There are a few significant changes:
* A new song, "You Must Love Me," has been written to take the place of the "Dice Are Rolling" sequence near the end of the film, when Evita is dying. Madonna sings it.
* The song "The Lady's Got Potential," which was on the original "white" studio album, but omitted from stage versions, has been restored, but with different lyrics. It is sung by Che.
* "Another Suitcase, Another Hall" is sung by Madonna, as Evita, instead of by Peron's mistress, as in previous versions.
* Most of the song "The Art of The Possible" has been cut.
Madonna is known for her recording career that has included the hit CD "Like a Virgin," films including Desperately Seeking Susan, and the erotic photo book Sex.
Pryce has established himself in American popular culture from his moody black-and-white Infiniti car commercials. But he's had a major career on stage, most notably as the Engineer in the original Miss Saigon in London and on Broadway. His casting in the half-Asian role earned the British actor protests when the show came to New York. Pryce also appeared in Comedians on Broadway and the London revival of Oliver! earlier this year. His film career includes Glengarry Glen Ross and Age of Innocence.
Banderas is a Spanish actor who has appeared in five Pedro Almodovar films, but his better known to American audiences from Interview With a Vampire and the recent Assassins. He also made a splash in tabloids as consort of actress Melanie Griffith.
Robert Stigwood (Grease, Tommy, Saturday Night Fever), Alan Parker and Andrew G. Vajna are the producers the soundtrack. It was released by Hollywood Pictures in the U.S and Latin America; and by Paramount in Germany and Japan.