Evita è un musical (da cui è stato tratto un film omonimo), scritto da Tim Rice e Andrew Lloyd Webber, liberamente ispirato alla vita di Evita Perón, moglie del presidente argentino Juan Domingo Perón.
La canzone più famosa del musical è la commovente Don’t cry for me, Argentina – Non piangere per me, Argentina (oppure Non gridare il mio nome, Argentina) cantata da Evita, dal balcone della Casa Rosada il giorno della proclamazione dell’elezione a presidente (17 ottobre del 1945) del marito, al suo paese e alla sua gente.
La prima esecuzione di Evita fu un’incisione discografica, come già era stato per Jesus Christ Superstar, il precedente successo dei due autori. Il disco uscì nel 1975. Gli interpreti erano Julie Covington (Evita), Colm Wilkinson (Che, il narratore, pare ispirato a Che Guevara), Paul Jones (Juan Perón), Barbara Dickson (l’amante), e Tony Christie (Magaldi).
Il debutto teatrale avvenne il 21 giugno 1978, in un teatro del West End a Londra. Il ruolo di Evita era affidato a Elaine Paige, scelta tra un vasto numero di candidate dopo che Julie Covington aveva rinunciato alla parte, dopo averla interpretata sul disco. CheDavid Essex e Peron da Joss Ackland. era interpretato da
Lo spettacolo fu portato con successo anche a Broadway. Nella produzione americana, gli interpreti principali erano Patti LuPone (Evita), Mandy Patinkin (l’agente speciale Gideon nella serie televisiva Criminal Minds, nel ruolo del Che), e Bob Gunton (Perón).
Era in progetto anche un film, i cui protagonisti avrebbero dovuto essere Barbra Streisand e Barry Gibb, con Ken Russell alla regia. Il progetto non andò in porto, e fu solo nel 1996 che Evita arrivò sul grande schermo con Madonna nel ruolo principale, Antonio Banderas in quello di Che e Jonathan Pryce in quello di Perón.
Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It is based on events surrounding the rise to power of Juan Perón as President of ArgentinaEva Perón, using Mary Main’s biography Evita: The Woman with the Whip as a base. and the significant role played in these events by his second wife,
Like Lloyd Webber and Rice’s previous hit, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita began as an album, released in 1976, with Julie Covington singing the lead role. Other parts were played by Paul Jones (as Juan Perón), Barbara Dickson (as the mistress), Colm WilkinsonTony Christie (as Agustín Magaldi). Covington’s recording of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” reached No. 1 in the UK singles chart in February 1977, and had similar success internationally. Dickson’s “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” also became a hit. In Britain, Australia, South Africa, South America, and various parts of Europe, sales of Evita exceeded those of Jesus Christ Superstar; in the United States, however, the concept album never achieved the same level of success. In 1977 American singer Karen Carpenter released a successful cover of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” which was noteworthy in that it preserved the complete song as written for the musical, rather than converting it to a pop solo.
Lloyd Webber and Rice reworked several elements of the musical before producing the stage musical. Some songs were dropped or shortened, while others were introduced and some lyrics rewritten. The 1976 album and the stage version featured different versions of the dialogue between Eva and Perón during “Dice Are Rolling”. Both discussed Eva’s illness and vice-presidency aspirations but the earlier concluded on “Eva’s Sonnet”, during which Eva reaffirms her aspirations. The stage version, “Dice are Rolling” concluded on a shorter version of the sonnet as Eva collapses due to her growing illness. Equally, the stage version of “Oh, What a Circus” features additional lyrics, explaining why Che does not share the nation’s grief.
The 1976 album contained the song “The Lady’s Got Potential” which described the rise of Eva and Perón. It was very particular in that it introduced a subplot about Ché being a research chemist who developed an insecticide and aspired to capitalize on this creation. A short song was also included before the start of “Charity Concert”, in which Perón and other officers introduce themselves as aspiring dictators. The song was dropped for the stage version, to be replaced with the “Art of the Possible”, a musical chairs number which focused on power struggles within Perón’s political party.
The character of Ché evolved considerably during the development of the musical. He was originally intended as an “Everyman character who could represent the voice of the people and of opposition”, but grew into a representation of the revolutionary Ché Guevara. It was not until Parker’s 1996 film that the character returned to its more anonymous roots.