1978 London production
Evita opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on June 21, 1978. The title character was played by Elaine Paige, who had been selected from a large number of hopefuls, after Julie Covington elected not to take the role. Ch? was played by the pop singer David Essex, and Per?n by Joss Ackland. The production was directed by Harold Prince, choreographed by Larry Fuller, and produced by Robert Stigwood.
1979 Broadway production
The show successfully opened at the Broadway Theatre in 1979, and starred
? Patti LuPone as Evita,
? Mandy Patinkin as Ch?,
? Bob Gunton as Per?n,
? Mark Syers as Magaldi, and
? Jane Ohringer as Peron's Mistress.
2006 London production
On 2 June 2006, the first major London production of Evita in 25 years opened at London's Adelphi Theatre, directed by Michael Grandage with Argentine actress Elena Roger as Eva Per?n, Philip Quast as Per?n, and Matt Rawle as Ch?. Notably, its song list included "You Must Love Me", written for the 1996 film, which had never been part of an English-language stage production. The production opened to rave reviews, but due to a surfeit of musicals in the West End at the time, ticket sales were slow and the production closed on May 26, 2007, after a run of less than twelve months.
1996 film: Evita
Plans for a film developed soon after the West End and Broadway openings, which was originally to have starred Barbra Streisand or Liza Minnelli as Eva, and Barry Gibb or Barry Manilow as Ch?, and was to have been directed by Ken Russell. This eventually did not materialize, and it was not until the 1996 film Evita, directed by Alan Parker, that the theatrical production came to the big screen, with Madonna in the title role, Antonio Banderas as Ch?, and Jonathan Pryce as Per?n. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Best Original Song.
Evita came in sixth in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the UK's "Number One Essential Musicals". One episode of The Simpson?s, "The President Wore Pearls", has a plot loosely based on the musical, including parodies of songs such as "Don't Cry for Me, Kids of Springfield". At the end of the episode, a disclaimer is displayed stating, "On the advice of our lawyers, we swear we have never heard of a musical based on the life of Eva Per?n".
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