Evita is a musical that opened on The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Stage on August 12 and will run through August 17.

For those who do not know, Evita is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and a score written by multi-award winning composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. The musical is about the former First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón. The musical follows her early life, rise to power, charity work and her eventual death.

Eva Perón was born in 1919 in the poor town of Los Toldos, Argentina. She made her way to Buenos Aires (the capital of Argentina) in the 1930s at the mere age of 15. Soon after moving there she rapidly climbed the social ladder and became an actress on a radio station. She then married Juan Perón, a military officer, in 1945 after dating for a year. The following year he became the president of Argentina where Eva used her position as first lady to fight for women's suffrage and improving the lives of the poor. She died in 1952 of cancer and was given the title "Spiritual Leader of the Nation."

Going into this musical with very minimal knowledge was a mistake. If you do not know anything about Eva Perón, I suggest you musical to take the time to research her and her life. The musical's plot line was a little twisty turny and due to the large chorus numbers (sometimes sung in spanish) it was a little hard to follow. The chorus had a wonderful sound and tone to it however at times it was hard to understand.


This production had something that I haven't seen in quite sometime. Something that is simple but in my opinion required in almost every musical I would like to see and that is dance. This new staged production uses beautiful tango choreography by Rob Ashford that is truly beautiful and really adds to the authenticity of the Argentinean production.

Caroline Bowman
The thing I enjoyed the most about Evita was the powerhouse leading actress, Caroline Bowman, who portrayed Eva Perón. She had such an amazing stage presence that had me begging for her to return to the stage every time she exited. Bowman's powerful vocal stamina is what really brought me into the musical. At times she had a belt that is in the ranks of Broadway legends like Patti LuPone (the Tony-Award winning actress who originated the role on Broadway) while other times her voice was soft and gentle in songs like "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." At the top of the second act, Bowman came out onto the balcony to address her people. She wore a dress that was almost too fabulous for the Argentinean diva as she delicately sung the musical's most popular song. It was this moment when I knew just who Caroline Bowman was. Just like the lyrics in the song "Buenos Aires," Caroline Bowman is an actress with true star quality.


Ordway Center for Performing Arts
345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Ticket Office: 651.224.4222
Groups: 651.282.3111
ordway.org

Be sure to follow the Ordway on their social media platforms as well!

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Production Photos by Richard Termine.




Bring It On: The Musical opened on The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Stage on May 13 and will run through the 18. 

If you attend this high flying musical, in hopes to hear the same favorite quotes from the original 2000 cult classic movie starring Kirsten Dunst, then you will be sadly disappointed. Upon entering the Ordway, I was expecting the same storyline that made me fall in love with the movie, however it's quite different.

The plot line for Bring It On: The Musical is similar to the second movie Bring It On: All Or Nothing in which a transfer student must compete with a new inner-city school's cheer squad against her old high school. In this musical, Campbell is the shows protagonist. Due to the school board re-districting parts of the city, she is forced to attend Jackson High School. This is of course after she has been named cheer squad captain which is all she's ever wanted and is expressed in the shows opening song What I was Born to Do.

The show had it's ups and downs for me. First off I did love the choreography and vocals. The choreography has two different distinct feels. It opened with Truman High School, Campbell's original school, doing many flips and gymnastic styled moves. I guess it's hard to classify it as either choreography or gymnastics. However the students of Truman High School had plenty of bumping and grinding dance moves all across the stage that they integrated with their gymnastics for their final squad routine. During the final show-down, my friend Lexia and I jumped a few times in fear that someone wasn't going to be caught! It was the most memorable thing from the show and really set it apart from other musicals I've seen in the past. Believe me, I've seen a lot.

The vocals were remarkable as well. The performers were constantly belting out some really stellar songs while at the same time twerking, flipping and tumbling. The music was something that kept me interested through out the entire production. This is no surprise when I found out Tony award winners Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Lin-Manual Miranda (In the Heights) both composed music for this show, as I am huge fans of both of their work. At times it was pop-like and sweet as the show opened, featuring Truman High School. However as the scenes transitioned into Jackson High School, the music shifted into music that had more hip-hop influence. 

Now for what I did not care for. I thought the writing was in a word...cliche. It was funny and witty at times however I thought the story line progressed way to fast and really was completely unrealistic. Now we all know that in musical theatre, very rarely is anything realistic which is when the actors actual acting abilities come into play. This is when I am torn. Was the book just that poorly written that I did not believe it or was it the fact that the actors did not truly pull me into the story enough to make me believe it. I'll let you decide upon seeing the production. 

Bring It On: The Musical plays at the Ordway through May 18.

Ordway Center for Performing Arts
345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Ticket Office: 651.224.4222
Groups: 651.282.3111
ordway.org

Be sure to follow the Ordway on their social media platforms as well!

Photography by Clint Tuccio.