Bay Street’s “Evita”: A New Take On an Andrew Lloyd Webber Classic

This summer, Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor is re-envisioning the large-scale Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Evita” in an intimate setting, taking a look at the life of the former First Lady of Argentina through the eyes of her supporters, who have gathered in a tango club 10 years after her death to celebrate her life.

“Ever since joining Bay Street as Artistic Director, I have dreamt of bringing the brilliant musical Evita to our stage.  So, the summer of 2018 is truly a dream come true for me,” says Bay Street Theater Artistic Director Scott Schwartz. “In [director] Will Pomerantz and [choreographer] Marcos Santana’s dance-filled, visionary new production, the audience will be transported to a gritty Argentinean tango club where they will get closer to the iconic characters and beloved score than ever before.”

Mr. Schwartz set up the initial meeting between Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Santana, who had been in the 25th anniversary national touring production of “Evita.”

Arianna Rosario as Eva Perón with the ensemble in Bay Street Theatre's new production of "Evita."
Arianna Rosario as Eva Perón with the ensemble in Bay Street Theatre’s new production of “Evita.”

“He told me his concept for the show and I was immediately enamored and said ‘yes, I will do it,’” said Mr. Santana in an interview with The Beacon in late July. “He wanted to establish it as more of a celebration and a ceremony of Eva Perón, not just to jump into the story with glitz and glamor. It takes place in a milonga, where people go to dance tango and drink beer, and they create a ceremonial procession to celebrate and tell the story.”

“It’s a fantastic idea. The way it’s set up is very clever, and it’s going to work beautifully,” he added.

Mr. Santana and the cast of 14 characters — about half the size of the cast of the original production — had been rehearsing at the new 42nd Street Studios in Manhattan before bringing “Evita” to Sag Harbor this week, where it will run through Aug. 26.

“Will told me he doesn’t think they’ve ever done a show that involved this much dancing,” said Mr. Santana of Bay Street. “The entire musical is staged in a choreographic way. There’s a lot of dancing for the space we have. The entire play has great choreographic rhythm, from beginning to end. I’m excited to get into tech and start playing with the space.”

“Evita” has a special place in Mr. Santana’s heart — he met his wife in the touring production a little over ten years ago. Real-life sparks fly in this production, too. Arianna Rosario, who plays Eva Perón, and Omar Lopez-Cepero, who plays Juan Perón, are engaged in real life.

“It has drama, romance, clear comedy, and there’s a sarcasm to the piece that I just love,” said Mr. Santana of the show. “It’s very clear material, and the music is just gorgeous from beginning to end.”

Omar Lopez-Cepero as Perón and Arianna Rosario as Eva Perón in Bay Street Theatre's new production of "Evita."
Omar Lopez-Cepero as Perón and Arianna Rosario as Eva Perón in Bay Street Theatre’s new production of “Evita.”

Bay Street’s production of “Evita” also stars Trent Saunderes as Che, Kyle Barisich as Magaldi and Gabi Campo as The Mistress.

Ensemble members are Julian Alvarez, Edgar Cavazos, Lauren Csete, Elisa Galindez, Danelle Rivera, Juan Guillen, Jose Ozuna, Dakota Quackenbush, and Carolina Santos Read.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays through Aug. 26.

Ticekts range from $40 to $145 and are available by calling the box office at 631.725.9500 or online at www.baystreet.org.

Bay Street’s 2018 Mainstage Season is made more accessible through special ticket offers such as “$30 under 30,” which offers $30 tickets to individuals under 30 years old (sponsored by Corcoran), and “$20 under 20,” which offers $20 tickets to individuals under 20 years old. Bay Street Theater also offers free student tickets for all Sunday matinee performances (Student ID required). Previews are July 31 through August 3, and are sponsored by Peconic Landing.

“Talkback Tuesdays” with members of the EVITA cast will take place on Tuesdays August 7, 14, and 21, immediately following the performances. After the evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays August 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26, guests are invited to stay after the performance for a sing-a-long night in Bay Street Theater’s lobby, in which guests can sing songs from the show together with piano accompaniment.

On Sunday, August 19, Bay Street invites members of its LGBTQ audience to the 2 p.m. performance, with a special afterparty to follow.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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