Michael Grandage's acclaimed production officially opened at the Adelphi June 21, 2006. The show's first preview, on June 2 of that year, marked the 28th anniversary to the day of Hal Prince's original production, which starred Elaine Paige. (Paige, it should be noted, makes her West End return when the London production of The Drowsy Chaperone officially opens June 6.) This latest version of Evita made a West End star of singer-actress-dancer Roger, whose performance as Eva Peron received a Best Actress nomination for this year's Olivier Awards.
The revival of the Lloyd Webber (music) and Rice (lyrics) musical received two other Olivier nominations - Outstanding Musical Production and Best Actor (Philip Quast) in a Musical. All three awards were scooped by the Broadway-bound revival of Sunday in the Park With George.
Evita focuses on Eva Peron's rise from her slum origins to the wife of Argentina's post-war nationalist leader Juan Peron, a position from which she held her people in thrall. Such was her power she became her country's unofficial vice-president, growing richer while her people's poverty deepened. She died of cancer at the age of 33.
Grandage's production is the first major revival of the musical since Evita premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1978. Hal Prince's production made a London star out of Elaine Paige and a Broadway star out of Patti LuPone. Madonna was already rather well known when she took on the role in Alan Parker's 1996 movie version.
The Adelphi next hosts Lloyd Webber and Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which opens on July 17 following previews that begin July 6.