Rainbow Tour: Kathy Voytko Is Evita in New Prince-ly Road Company, Taking Off Nov. 2

By Kenneth Jones
02 Nov 2004

Kathy Voytko
Kathy Voytko

Kathy Voytko, fresh from Lincoln Center Theater's new production of The Frogs, where she played Ariadne, plays the title role in the new national tour of Evita.

Harold Prince supervises the new Troika Entertainment tour of Evita that Larry Fuller directs for a Nov. 2-14 launch at Boston's Colonial Theatre.

Prince was the original director of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical about the life and death of Argentina's controversial first lady, Eva Peron. Prince won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for Evita in 1980.

He reunites with original choreographer, Fuller, for the Equity tour. Visit www.BroadwayinBoston.com.

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Voytko made her stage debut at age 7, when she played "Pipsqueak," the littlest mouse, in her grade school Christmas show. She studied classical ballet for 10 years, rising to the rank of soloist, and became fascinated by musical theatre when she saw her first Broadway show — Les Misérables. She earned a BFA in music and theatre from Shenandoah University, where she received the Gordon Gooch Fellowship for Continuing Education and recently, the Alumni Excellence Award. Favorite roles included Lily in The Secret Garden, Oolie/Donna in City of Angels, Cathy Seldon in Singin' in the Rain and the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods. Post-college, Voytko played Sally in Me and My Girl at the Fireside Dinner Playhouse. At the recommendation of choreographer Marc Robin, she took the role of Polly in a Chicago production of Crazy For You (for which she won a 1998 Jeff Award). She spent three years performing in the Windy City as Fiona in Brigadoon, Yum-Yum in The Hot Mikado, and Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Voytko won praise for her work as The Maid in The Court Theatre production of Putting It Together, directed by Gary Griffin (she was nominated for a Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actress ). She met her husband, Broadway actor John Cudia while performing in the national Broadway tour of The Phantom of the Opera, in which they played opposite each other in the romantic roles of Christine and Raoul. Voytko next landed on Broadway where she played Sylvie and understudied Ado Annie in the original revival cast of Oklahoma!, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman. Her second Broadway show was as Sofia in the Tony Award-winning revival cast of Nine, starring Antonio Banderas.

As film actress and Argentine first lady Eva Peron, Voytko steps onto the same balcony where Patti LuPone, Elaine Paige, Florence Lacey, Madonna and others who have sung "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina."

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Prince is "managing the entire creative process including casting, rehearsals and set design," according to the announcement. "Directing this touring production in collaboration with Mr. Prince will be Larry Fuller."

The legendary producer-director Prince's resume reads like a textbook on post-1955 musical theatre history. He's been associated with The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera, among many other works. He also staged the first Evita production in London in 1978.

Elaine Paige originated the part in London (it made her a star) and Patti LuPone originated Eva on Broadway (making her a star and winning her the Tony). Madonna was Eva in the film version.

The show's score includes "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall," "Rainbow," "High Flying Adored," "Oh What a Circus," "And the Money Kept Rolling In" and more.

The musical would usher in a decade or so of British created shows — Les Misérables, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Starlight Express, Miss Saigon — that were largely all-sung, earning them the term "pop operas."

At the time of its 1979 opening on Broadway, Evita set records for the largest box office advance on Broadway. Lloyd Webber and Rice began work on the project as early as 1974, and created a concept album that preceded the stage show.

In addition to his 1980 Tony nomination for Best Choreography, Fuller's credits include Sweeney Todd, On the Twentieth Century and Merrily We Roll Along. He has twice staged and choreographed both the Tony and Emmy Awards.

Among cities announced to welcome, Eva, Che, Juan and the population of Argentina are Chicago (Nov. 16-28 at Auditorium Theatre), Appleton, WI (Dec. 14-19 at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center) and Wallingford, CT (Feb. 8-13, 2005 at Oakdale Theatre).