By Rita J. Egan
I was in the sixth grade when friends and I prepared a skit around the music of the Broadway play Evita. I'm not quite sure how we came up with the idea, but I do remember the commercials and how badly I wanted to go to New York City and see the play.
I never did get a chance to see the original, and grew up to be a teenager who was a huge fan of the group Menudo. Through the years, I also became a great admirer of Ricky Martin.
Imagine how excited I was when rumors began circulating in 2010 that Martin was up for the part of Che in the Broadway revival. I waited in anticipation for the day I would finally see Evita.
Finally on March 24, my friend Silvia and I had the opportunity to catch one of the preview performances. It was the matinee and unfortunately Elena Roger (Eva Peron) doesn't perform Saturday matinees, but the show was a good one just the same. The scenery was breathtaking, and the ensemble numbers were exhilarating.
Christina DeCicco did a nice job as Evita, but it was Rachel Potter, Juan Peron's mistress, who left me teary-eyed after she sang "Another Suitcase in Another Hall." There's sweetness in her voice that I'm sure will touch many theater-goers as well as leave many lasting impressions. Michael Cerveris’s portrayal of Peron was perfectly understated relaying the message of how this powerful man was overshadowed by his charismatic wife.
And then of course, there was Martin. The character Che serves as a narrator of the story as well as Eva Peron's conscience of sorts. Many times Che observes the scenes from the sidelines. You would think a star such as Martin would be a distraction, but somehow he moves seamlessly along the edges when needed. And when it's time for Che to take center stage, Martin moves gracefully from observer to star. It seems the role was made for him, incorporating his talents for singing and dancing. During the number "High Flying Adored," where he sings of Eva achieving success at such a young age, Martin seemed to easily relate to the lyrics.
Martin also cleverly delivers Che's lines. He seemed to handle them with an ease that had the audience catching the sarcasm and chuckling with him.
With it being a preview, it seemed that there were a few kinks that needed to be worked out, but I'm sure nothing that the talented actors haven't already handled. As for Martin’s fans, they have all of 2012 to catch their favorite performer shining on Broadway as Che.
Rita Egan is a contributing writer to PRSUN. A freelance writer, check out Rita's columns in the Smithtown Patch at http://smithtown.patch.com/search/articles?cat=1998198867&contributor=70720. Rita’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evita is playing on Broadway. For more information, visit http://evitaonbroadway.com.
(Photo of Rita Egan posing in front of the poster of Ricky Martin (Che) outside the Marquis Theatre.)