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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
November 29 , 2023

‘Evita’ kicks off the Actors’ Playhouse 30th Anniversary season

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Argentine first lady Eva Perón, played by Andrea Pilar, sings to her people in "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" in the Actors' Playhouse production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Evita." Photo courtesy George Schiavone.

If you grew up in Miami, you’ve probably heard the iconic song “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from seven-time Tony Award-winning musical “Evita.” To kick off its milestone 30th anniversary season, the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre launched its season with the Broadway classic. The theater brought not only a traditional English language run during the month of November, but will also be performing a Spanish language run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17. The captivating musical tells the story of the Argentinian first lady Eva Perón, wife of former President Juan Domingo Perón.

The production is based on the West End in London 1978 original musical by the award-winning author Tim Rice and notable composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. It tracks the life of the charismatic “Santa Evita,” who rose from the slums of a rural village in Argentina to the presidential mansion in the city of Buenos Aires.

“This is a very complex and hard show,” said Joshua Dobarganes, who plays Magaldi in the Miami-based version. “It’s seldom done and it’s very glamorous. It was created by one of the greatest composers of all time, from ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ to ‘Cats.’”

Adored by her people as a champion for the poor and a voice for working class “Los descamisados” (“the shirtless”), Eva Perón became one of the most influential women in the world. But she was also the face of an abusive autocracy that murdered dissidents. Her desire, ambition and fragile health made her story tragic.

The theater, which has collected 89 Carbonell Awards under the artistic leadership of the director David Arisco, is thrilled to finally present the reprise of this musical comedy – one of the most significant productions in its 30-year history.

The score features Latin, pop and jazz, with songs including “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.”

The play also unites an all-star cast to bring this musical to life, including Andrea Pilar as Eva Perón, Eugenio Vargas as the antagonist and narrator Che, Samuel Druhora as the militant and President Juan Domingo Perón, Joshua Dobarganes as Magaldi, Kelly Ziegler as the mistress and a large energetic ensemble representing the Argentinian society.

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Revolutionary Che Guevara (portrayed by Eugenio Vargas) fulfills the role of both the antagonist and the narrator in "Evita." Photo courtesy George Schiavone.

“Especially in our community here, we know there is a rift between a lot of people when it comes to Eva’s role – what she really did, what she really didn’t do, the precursor to the Cuban revolution,” Dobarganes said. “The show is timeliness because the world is still struggling with defining what is right, universal morality and what is best for the people.”

Just minutes before the curtains with the logo of Evita rolled up, Barbara Stein, founder and executive producing director of the Actors’ Playhouse, said to the audience that one of the main objectives was to fill the houses and engage the audience with quality stories.

“We are really embracing Miami culture in the theater, especially right now in our 30th anniversary season,” said Hollis Williams, a UM alumna who graduated last spring and is part of the ensemble. “It is right next door, and a lot of time students don’t come to the Mile. We are having so much fun every night on stage, and it is really important for us and the company not only to share that with anyone from the community but also with our students.”

The production will run until Dec. 17 in Spanish. Tickets can be purchased through the box office at 305-444-9293 or online at www.actorsplayhouse.org.

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