Not many United States Americans know the story of Eva María Duarte dePerón, but in Argentina, she is a figure of much controversy. The public is divided on how to view her. The lower classes view her as the Argentinian patron saint of the poor, while the upper classes see her as a degenerate who took advantage of people in pursuit of personal fame and fortune. This debate has been raging ever since she rose to prominence in the 1940’s.
Delaware All-State Theatre is bringing this debate to light in our community with their production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “EVITA” this summer.
According to the account that inspired the musical, Eva Perón started as Eva Duarte in a small town in Argentina until she had an affair with a prominent Jazz singer, Agustín Magaldi, who she convinced to take her to the metropolis of Argentina, Buenos Aires. From there she rose through the ranks of society by getting promotions and opportunities from other affairs until she met up with Juan Perón and helped him earn the presidency of Argentina by using her radio show to rally the poor and destitute in support of Perón. All of this dramatic change only covers the first act of the show and there is already enough to fuel vicious debate.
Did Eva use her lovers to advance herself as the only viable path for a woman in the patriarchal societal structure of 1940’s Argentina or was that the way to the top that required the least effort? Was she truly in love with her husband, the president of Argentina Juan Perónor just using him to advance herself? Did she fight for her people or for herself? Did she love the people or just love their adoration? The show presents these warring points of view on Eva’s motivations and justifications for her actions.
The show is brilliant in its own right as well. The winner of 7 Tony awards, the show is a powerhouse of musical numbers that not only tell the story of Eva Perón masterfully but also create nuance within the music. Some numbers will push you back into your seat with its power, some numbers will make you dread the actions on stage, and some numbers will make you cry in ways you’ve never felt before. From choreography to character to masterful music, EVITA will take you on the emotional rollercoaster of Eva Perón’s life in the best way imaginable.
To truly form your own opinion and join in the discussion, come see Delaware All-State Theatre’s EVITA, playing at the Laird Performing Arts Center at the Tatnall School at 7:30 pm on June 23rd, 28th, 29th, 30thand at 2 pm on June 24th, 27thand July 1st. Get tickets at.