Musicals Extend: Chicago & Evita Continue in 2007Date: 12 July 2006
Two West End musicals – Michael Grandage’s recently opened revival of Evita and the show it replaced at the Adelphi Theatre, Chicago, which has now moved to the Cambridge Theatre - have extended their booking periods.
Evita opened at the Adelphi on 21 June 2006 (previews from 2 June) and had been booking until 30 September 2006. It has now added five months to its schedule, taking it up to 3 February 2007. In Grandage’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit 1978 musical Argentine actress Elena Roger* takes the title role alongside Philip Quast as Juan Peron and Matt Rawle as narrator Che Guevara (See News, 30 Jan 2006).
Evita is based on the life and times of Eva Peron, the second wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron. It chronicles her life as one of Argentina’s most complex and powerful public figures, against a backdrop of political unrest, until her death of cancer aged 33 in 1952. The musical premiered, with Elaine Paige playing Eva, at the West End’s Prince Edward Theatre in January 1978 where it ran for seven years. In 1996, Alan Parker’s film version starred Madonna, Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas.
In addition to the original score – which includes classics such as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” - Grandage’s new production features, for the first time on stage, the Oscar-winning “You Must Love Me”, which was written especially for Parker’s film and became a Top Ten single.
(*Abbie Osmon performs the role of Eva on Monday evenings and Thursday matinees. From 25 to 30 September 2006, while Elena Roger is on holiday, Osmon will lead the week’s six other performances with Jodi Jacobs performing the Monday evening and Thursday matinee.)
Meanwhile, at the Cambridge Theatre, Chicago has extended its schedule by six months, taking bookings up to 14 April 2007. The show currently stars Jennifer Ellison as Roxie Hart (until to 12 August 2006), alongside Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Ian Kelsey as Billy Flynn, Brenda Edwards as Mama Morton (until 22 July 2006) and Victor McGuire as Amos Hart.
Chicago won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. The 1975 musical, about a wannabe jazz star turned murderess, is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
The current stage revival is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. It opened at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre (where the original London production of the Kander and Ebb musical opened in April 1979 and ran for 603 performances) on 28 April 2006, after a record-breaking nine years at the Adelphi Theatre, where it opened in November 1997.
- by Caroline Ansdell