For Evita Tony Nominee Michael Cerveris, Working Opposite Two Evas Is Fascinating and Exciting

By Andrew Gans
22 May 2012

Michael Cerveris
Michael Cerveris

Tony winner Michael Cerveris, who received a Tony nomination for his performance as Perón in the current Broadway revival of Evita, was on his way to the recording studio to record the musical's Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice score when he received the news of his fifth Tony nomination.

"I think the special thrill of the recognition this time is the feeling that it kind of acknowledges and recognizes the new things that we discovered and unearthed in the character of Perón and the new sort of place that the story of the relationship between Perón and Eva has taken in this production," Cerveris told Playbill.com on the morning the nominations were announced.

"I think that's something we're really proud of," the singing actor added, "shedding more light and bringing more dimensions to the character of Perón that has been played brilliantly and memorably by Bob Gunton [in the original Broadway production] and Jonathan Pryce in the movie. But this feels like a special acknowledgement and recognition for new things that we've discovered and explored in this character that kind of puts Perón in the league of Eva and Che in a way that maybe it hasn't been before. That feels really gratifying on behalf of myself and [director] Michael Grandage, especially, and Elena [Roger, who plays Eva] as well because it really is true that whatever success I have in portraying this character is very much because of Michael and Elena working with me and inspiring me to all that. And then, even though we don't strictly have scenes together, the work that Ricky [Martin] does and the kind of selfless way that he goes about performing Che also allows me to do my best work, too, so I'm indebted to all of them and the whole company."

Cerveris, who won his earlier Tony Award for his performance in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, has the rare opportunity to play opposite two different leading ladies each week: Roger, who stars in six shows a week, and Christina DeCicco, who plays the vocally demanding title role at Wednesday evening and Saturday matinee performances.

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