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‘Evita’ National Tour, Atlanta June 3-8

2014 June 4

Well, Mom, I’m sorry you were sick and missed the opening night of “Evita” tonight, but you didn’t miss much.

I understand it’s not fair to compare a show to another production I’ve seen of it, especially when it was a Broadway production with two stars who won Tony Awards for their roles. So forget Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.

In tonight’s show, Josh Young, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut as Judas in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,”  was outstanding as the narrator, Che. Sean McLaughlin was very good as Peron. However, this show is titled “Evita,” so you’d think the character playing Evita, who wound up co-ruling Argentina,  would be uber powerful. Not so. At one point my friend Kay Powell, who came with me in your place, said, “Can you understand the words she is saying?” My answer: no. When Kay went to the restroom during intermission, she said many women were asking  each other the same question, “Can you understand the words she is saying?”

The role of Eva (Evita) was played by Caroline Bowman, who had the physicality portion down for the role, arms up in the air, fingers pointing with arms outstretched in invitation or accusation like she meant it. And she had seductive moves, climbing men as if they were trees, but the heart behind the actions was missing. Evita is supposed to be a fiery woman filled with passion. I was moved to tears when I saw the Broadway show. This Evita didn’t have to sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” I don’t imagine many cried for her tonight.

Ms. Bowman would have been fine in the ensemble but not as Eva. Like the lyrics in the show’s song “Buenos Aires,” Eva should have “just a little touch, just a little touch, just a little touch of star quality.”

Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, directed by Michael Grandage, “Evita” runs through Sunday at the Fox Theatre.

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