"Sing Out, Louise!" Our Top Ten Musical Theatre Diva Vehicles

By Ben Rimalower
05 Aug 2013

1. Evita

My choice for Number One Top Diva Vehicle is Evita. Evita is a diva vehicle 24-7. The character rarely leaves the stage (after a delayed diva entrance, of course). Moreover, when Eva in Evita is onstage, she's always singing. As a sung-through, quasi-operatic work, Evita has basically no spoken dialogue. So, even relatively inconsequential moments in the narrative, connective tissue between big numbers and minor expository statements all call on the actors to sing. This means that Evita, as a diva vehicle delivers more belting per minute (BPM) than any other diva vehicle. That alone might earn Evita first place on this list, but add the fact that the big numbers are such vocally and dramatically thrilling pieces as "Rainbow High," "Buenos Aires" and "A New Argentina," and you've got a diva vehicle for the ages. It's no surprise it made an "instant queen" out of Patti LuPone and Elaine Paige, in the original Broadway and London productions, or that a star of no less magnitude than Madonna would choose the role for a rare major motion picture foray. People can quibble with Evita's politics or literary or musical merit (or lack thereof), but as a diva vehicle, it is nirvana.

(Ben Rimalower is the author and star of the critically acclaimed Patti Issues now playing off Off-Broadway. Read Playbill.com's coverage of the solo show here. Visit him at benrimalower.com and follow @benrimalower on Twitter.)