Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice's Evita staged by Austin's Zachary Scott Theatre as a European-styled, one-ring circus, complete with a high-wire aerialist Eva Peron, a lion-tamer Juan Peron and a ringmaster Che Guevara, ends its extended run Nov. 12. The unique production opened Sept. 14 and was originally set to play through Oct. 22.
Inspired to stage Evita as if Frederico Fellini had directed the show, helmer Dave Steakley became obsessed with the circus and clown motives in the filmmaker's work. Taking his cue from Eva's life (the dictatress' first film was "The Circus Rider," and circus performers were one of the primary groups she reached with her financial aid programs), he crafted a center ring where the action takes place, surrounded by a chorus performing side acts like ball walking, stiltwalking, juggling and balancing, under the tutelage of the Flaming Idiots. Musical director Allen Robertson even reorchestrated the entire score, using the musical sounds of both the circus band and traditional Latin instruments such as Spanish guitar and accordion.
Jenna Busch stars as Eva Peron with Dan Sullivan as Juan Peron and Gerard Lebeda as ringmaster Che.
Michael Raiford, who first stumbled upon the Fellini idea, designed the set with Leslie Bonnell creating the costumes.
Tickets are $36-$30. The Zachary Scott Theatre is located at 1510 Toomey Road. For tickets, call (512) 476-0541, ext. 1. The Zachary Scott Theatre is on the web at http://www.zachscott.com. -- By Christine Ehren