By Andrew Gans
29 Jun 2012
For those like myself who like to catch as many different actresses playing the role of Evita as possible, there is some exciting news: For two weeks this summer former Wicked star Christina DeCicco will step into the title role of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical at the Marquis Theatre. DeCicco, who normally performs the role twice weekly — Wednesday evenings and Saturday matinees — will play the late Eva Peron six performances a week July 12-19 and August (dates to be announced shortly) while Argentinian actress and Olivier winner Elena Roger films a movie (during those two weeks Jessica Lea Patty will be the Alternate Eva). (For the record, this diva lover has enjoyed the Evitas of Tony winner Patti LuPone, Derin Altay, Nancy Opel, Donna Marie Elio [now Asbury], Judy McLane, Natalie Toro, Felicia Finley, Elena Roger, and, come July 7, Ms. DeCicco.)
Although DeCicco has only gotten to play the role about 20 times, her co-stars have lavished her with praise. Rachel Potter, who plays Peron's Mistress, previously told me, "Christina is from New York. She's an American through and through, and she brings such a different energy, but it's so, so great, and I hope that more and more people will come see her because she's fantastic....Her voice is stunning, and we're all very, very proud of her because obviously being an alternate is never an easy job. And, she's done such amazing work just watching. She didn't get as many runs. She got maybe a fourth of the time — not even — probably an eighth of the time that Elena got to rehearse. And, she's so great. She still professes that she's still developing the role, but she's just stunning." And, Tony winner Michael Cerveris, who received his fifth Tony nomination for his performance as Perón, added, "In the beginning, she just had nowhere near the time on stage with me or in the rehearsal room for us to form that kind of comfort zone, even though from the very beginning, it was astounding from her first run-through with everybody, just how much work she had done to be able to step up ... and not just hit the right marks and know the right words and hit the right notes, but really already have a character being formed and developed... [It's also] so wonderful that the relationship between Elena and Christina is just dictionary-definition of 'collaboration' and 'mutual respect.' They were like sisters in rehearsal — just sitting and sharing ideas and talking about things — and it really set the tone for that kind of work together. That relationship could obviously be a really dicey one, and it really has not. It's, in fact, been the opposite. It's been kind of inspirational." Potter and Cerveris, it should be noted, spoke with equal enthusiasm about co-star Roger.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of chatting with the talented singing actress about playing one of the most demanding roles in the musical theatre canon; my interview with DeCicco follows.
Christina DeCicco: Well, I had just booked Sister Act, over a year-and-a-half ago, and my agents called me with an audition.
Question: What was the audition process like?
DeCicco: I first went in for Kristen Blodgette, the music director, and then met with [director] Michael Grandage and then went back in for the producers and actually didn't book it. [Laughs.] And then I called my agents and said, "They have to see me again. I have to get back in," so they allowed me to come back in a second time, and then I got the job.