Evita stars ignite stage

ON This Night of a Thousand Stars, one of the beautiful songs from Wonthaggi’s Evita, aptly described opening night on Saturday when the stars lit up the stage for the premiere.

Successfully performed around the world for some 40 years, Evita is a much loved 1970s musical from the extraordinarily talented duo of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

It tells the story of a small town peasant girl, come actress Eva Duarte who became Eva Perón, the beloved first lady of Argentina president Juan Peron in the 1940s and 1950s, and followed by her inevitable downfall and tragic death by cancer at only 33.

For those who have seen Hollywood’s version of Evita, there is no doubting Madonna and Antonio Banderas are hard acts to follow, but the audience on opening night left the cast in no doubt about what they thought of Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s  performance– with huge applause throughout the show.

But then you could’ve heard a pin drop at the Wonthaggi Union Arts Centre when the diminutive young Janie Gordon, as the forlorn, discarded schoolgirl mistress of President Juan Perón sat alone on the stage, surrounded by her baggage and sang perhaps the best song in the show, Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

Janie, captain of Leongatha’s Mary MacKilllop College, absolutely floored the opening night audience with her sweet singing. She was amazing.

There were many highlights, with glamorous leading lady Nina Barry Macaulay every bit the star in her title role, Evita, meaning Little Eva, and it has to be said there was nothing small about her alluring performance.

She clearly shines in the spotlight with her beautiful singing and her Don’t Cry For Me Argentina wowed the audience.

Aided by a stunning array of ball gowns, the most striking being the sparkling strapless white ball gown for Eva’s big Don’t Cry for Me Argentina number, and smart costumes, all beautifully designed by director Colin Mitchell, Nina was every bit the polished leading lady.

Her acting and dancing were superb and her musical numbers were a sheer delight.

She teams perfectly opposite her talented leading men John Black, husband and President Juan Perón and Corey Green as Che, as in Che Guevara, the famous Argentinean revolutionary, who is the scornful narrator.

Mitchell’s Che is a standout. His good looks, commanding physical presence and powerful singing on show in  And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) and  High Flying, Adored were amazing. For someone so young, tackling such a demanding role could be a big challenge but he was terrific.

John, every bit the professional, made an excellent president alongside Nina (Evita) with his beautiful, strong singing.

Another to mention was love rat Agustín Magaldi (Tim Gessel) who delighted the audience with his acting and singing.

High praise must also go to the chorus line for their stunning dance routines, beautifully choreographed by Bron Kalos, and Colin Mitchell for his outstanding direction and sets created by John Cuttriss and a volunteer crew, including a group of Year 9 students from Newhaven College.

Musical director Kirk Skinner and his orchestra gave sumptuous, stirring versions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Argentine music and Trevor Wyhoon created seductive lighting that, with the brilliant sets, conjured everything from a rowdy club in the Argentine sticks to the stately Casa Rosada with its made-for-speeches balcony.

Glamorous costumes, dazzling multi-level sets and stirring tango infused singing and dancing made for a provocative and richly entertaining Evita musical staged by the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group

This production is a visual feast, with many surprises along the way, and you won’t want to miss what will be another award winning show for this proud company.

The show will be staged this Thursday, June 2 at 8pm, Friday, June 3 at 8pm, Saturday June 4 at 2pm and 8pm, Sunday, June 5 at 5pm, Thursday, June 9 at 8pm, Friday, June 10 at 8pm, Saturday, June 11 at 2pm and 8pm and concluding  Saturday, June 12 at 2pm.


Stunning cast: leading couple Nina Barry-Macaulay (Evita) and John Black (President Juan Peron) teamed beautifully in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s latest musical on Saturday night, backed up by a highly talented cast.

Stunning cast: leading couple Nina Barry-Macaulay (Evita) and John Black (President Juan Peron) teamed beautifully in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s latest musical on Saturday night, backed up by a highly talented cast.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=18639

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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