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Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice

North Texas Performing Arts Repertory Theatre

Production Staff:
Director - Pam Anglero
Co-Director - MD Christian
Music Director - Billy Veer
Choreographer - Leah Flores
Lighting Designer - Max Fetter
Set Design - Jo Alamares
Costumer - Lisa Rodenbaugh

Eva Peron - Ash Christine
Che Gender - Christian Thraikill
Juan Peron - John Sanchez
Peron’s Mistress - Bella Zambrano
Augustin Magaldi - Malik Offor
Ensemble - Conchita Moreno, Jacob A. Fisher, ChiChi Omeoga, Clara Moos, Matt John West, Michael Valderas

Reviewed Performance: 3/11/2023

Reviewed by Scott Lee Clayton, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

From the beginning to its closing moments, NTPA Repertory fills the Rodenbaugh Theatre with a beautiful cacophony of music as they present Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Evita. Co-Director’s Pam Anglero and MD Christian takes this piece and turns it into a complete masterpiece and really brings the integrity of the times to the direction of this piece. Everything about this show presented by NTPA Rep is a must see and is one not to miss as this show has professional level talent and pulls no punches telling this story with riveting fervor and makes the transitions into the next song seamlessly and does not feel like you are in a theatre for 2.5 hours which Billy Veer does a stellar job of steering the course of the music in this sing through musical.

The story follows the rise and restoration of Argentina as Juan Peron comes to power and ends up being wed to singer Eva Peron who also becomes woman of the people and encourages Peron’s people that they will not worry when she is gone, when she is dying an unprecedented death. While the story unfolds, we see an eerie Che Gender, as he is almost like a haunting spirit and negative connotation saying that Eva did absolutely nothing for her people, when in reality, the Peron’s restored Argentina and you can see that clearly in the Act 1 Finale, “A New Argentina.” The one thing I love about this piece is it ends how it begins and you see how effective the story cycles as Lloyd Webber and Rice’s writing pure genius is to where this musical is almost an ongoing cycle to where you could loop the story and it would make sense in a time cycle.

Ash Christine’s Peron will have your eyebrows raised and absolutely glued to her as she leads this cast with gusto and I was very impressed with her gentleness in the tear jerking Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, and ABSOLUTELY SHINES in Buenos Aires, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and slays with a gorgeous and clean mix belt in A New Argentina. However, you can’t talk about Ash Christine, without talking about the marvelously eerie and haunting Che. Thraikill almost has parallels to how Judas is portrayed in Jesus Christ Superstar, but his take in Oh What A Circus and High Flying Adored is almost haunting as while he sings these pieces with gusto and primitive flair, he takes this role to a polar opposite to how Antonio Banderas portrays the role in the 1996 to where the antagonism of Che really shines and is almost lugubrious and eerie in nature. Malik Offor’s luscious voice shines in Charity Concert and handles this role with suave and riveting flavor with his vocals throughout the show. John Sanchez as Juan Peron is an absolute beautiful character trip as we start arrogant but then once Eva dies we see the vulnerability and shows the care and essentially promises Eva he will continue her work for the people. Bella Zambrano is very innocent as her role as the mistress in Another Suitcase in Another Hall and wish she was seen more as I love the tender moment between Eva and the mistress in Another Suitcase in Another Hall. The one thing I love about this show is the ensemble in this show as they really add to the story and is treated as if they are also the leads in this show.

Pam Anglero and MD Christian handle this show’s integrity to a tee as the culture and times of this show is handled with pristine precision as I love how they connected this story and played well into the history at this time of the restoration of a new Argentina. Jo Alamares’ 2 story set is a beast in nature, and Anglero makes very good use of the levels in the space. All of the design concepts complement each other as Christian and Anglero really create something beautiful from Alamares’ set, to Fetter’s light design, and Lisa Rodenbaugh’s costume design. However, the highlight shines in Billy Veer’s music direction as he makes 12 people sound like 40 people with precision in the tight harmonies and dynamic contrast of the music. In addition, Leah Flores’ choreography is tight and riveting and is a character piece which compliments, Anglero and Christian’s direction of the show. In conclusion, NTPA Repertory Theatre’s Evita is a storytelling masterpiece and is one not to miss as this community theatre has professionally level talent and is a Broadway level Production.

Evita runs March 16th-19th.
evening performances at 8pm Friday-Saturday, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM
Willow Bend Center of the Arts
6121 West Park Blvd. Plano, TX 75093
Tickets Available at Orchestra $20, Premium $30.