Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Evita, McCallum Fine Arts Academy, February 25 - March 7

McCallum Fine Arts Academy's production of Evita, playing last weekend and next, is a bravado performance, a challenging musical act carried out on the tight wire between two languages.

Technical director Scott Tatum greeted the opening night audience with the news that this is not only a bilingual performance; it is the first bilingual performance of the 1978 piece by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice. The McCallum staff spliced together the scores and libretti used for the performances on Broadway in 1978 and in Madrid in 1979. Titles projected above the stage provide the translation into the alternate language.

Upping the theatrical ante, they've double-cast the leading roles in this strenuous, cynical musical version of the life of Evita PerĂ³n. That may well encourage supporters to attend more than once -- for example, I happened to sit next to the grandmother of the alt-Evita, Aline Mayagoitia , who served as part of the undifferentiated chorus that evening.

A theatre reporter already hard pressed to cover the hellzapoppin Austin theatre scene can't help but feel a pang of regret at missing that alternate performance, with a fully bilingual leading singer.

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