So after quitting my job last September, I wrote a Mondo Beyondo list on my blog. And as of tomorrow, one goal on that list will be crossed off.
I will open in Evita at the Georgetown Palace Theater, and I will be playing Eva Peron.
Just a little bit.
And on the stage, come to think of it.
Oops. Spoiler alert. Too late. Eva dies. In case you don't know your world history (or your musical theater history), she dies. Young. 33 years old.
One of the fellow cast members (a drunk, a dancer, a worker, a newspaper man, a mourner, an oligarch, everyone kind of plays everyone in this show) is super tech savvy. He's also looking for a job right now, so hire him! He made an iPhone app for The Palace Theater, so you can check out how many seats are left for a certain performance, and reserve your ticket. (Note, there will always show more seats available than there actually are because some seats are taken out for handicapped accessibility, etc. So in general subtract 10 and that's how many seats are left). Download the free app!
Local G-town photographer, Elaine Funk, did a photo shoot with me to get the picture for the poster, and one of the young girls in the play (I call her "mini-me" because she sings "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" with me at the start of the show), her father, Rich Simms, designed the poster! Awesome!
Over the past few months I've read several books on Eva Duarte de Peron and her husband, the President of Argentine, Juan Peron. They were an interesting couple and hotly debated among politicians and Argentines. Much myth encapsulates the couple, and it is often difficult to know what really did or did not happen, so grandiose are the stories told praising and criticizing them on both sides of the fence.
A short synopsis though? Eva was born in the lowest class system (one could argue "caste" system) in Junin, Argentina. She was the youngest of five children born illegitimately to her mother and Senor Duarte, a man, who like most men in Argentina in that time, kept a mistress in addition to his wife and children.
Eva's father was middle class, a step up from the lower, working class. This caste included educated persons and university students as well as business men. And the cream of the crop? Who sat first class? The "oligarchs." Landowners, so wealthy, they made the disparity between rich and poor Argentines one of the most divided in the whole world at that time.
Eva escaped Junin by joining a theater troupe, a very rough vocation for women and men of that time. Poorly paid, she managed to survive in Buenos Aires, and worked her way to eventual stardom in radio and film. After a devastating earthquake in San Juan, Eva and many other actors met General Juan Peron at a charity event to raise money for victims of the tragedy.
It was love at first sight. Or something like that.
After a series of coups, including one that left Peron (at that time, a minister in the President's cabinet) in prison, Eva and Peron rose to power, and he was eventually elected President of Argentina in 1946. Campaigning on behalf of the descamisados, or "shirtless ones," social justice was Eva and Peron's political platform. And indeed they brought about much reform in Argentina. Fairer elections, women's suffrage, hospitals, schools, unions, all instituted under their leadership. However, the propaganda required by the Peronistas (members of the political party) to keep the Perons in power, was overwhelming. And those who opposed Peron or Eva, or even voiced moderate criticism of their endeavors, were silenced and often disappeared. The Perons were a paranoid pair who spent as much time giving voice to those without one as they did silencing those who spoke out against them. They were lavish spenders as well, and Eva was known for her Parisian dresses, closets-full of furs and beautiful jewelry. On her "Rainbow Tour" of Europe in 1947, it is said that she had a separate airplane just for her clothing. By the time of Eva's death, Argentina, one of the wealthiest nations in first half of the century, was now suffering and even rationing food.
Eva fell ill several years later, and died from cancer at the age of 33 (though the public was told she was only 30). Check out this video clip of her 5 day funeral... (especially around minute 1 - cue flowers, and minute 2, cue long lines).
Her death, like her life, was a mysterious one. Peron had her corpse embalmed by an Italian chemist, and it was on display for the public until Peron was overthrown in a coup. Eva's body disappeared for 16 or 17 years (buried in Milan by the army under a false name), but Peron brought it back to stay with him and his third wife, Isabel (Eva and his first wife both died young) in Spain, where they kept it on their dining room table. Creepy.
Peron, Isabel and Eva returned to Argentina when in 1973, Peron was re-elected President, and Isabel, Vice-President. When Peron died the next year leaving the unexperienced and unprepared Isabel (first female President in the Western Hemisphere -sigh) in charge, she quickly brought Eva's body back to Argentina where it now rests in a tomb in Buenos Aires said to be able to withstand even a nuclear attack.
And that, my friends, is a brief synopsis of Eva Peron.
And that is who I will be for the next five weeks.
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Buy your tickets here or check out the Palace's website for more information. Or call 512-869-SHOW (7469) to reserve your seat. Warning, I have an understudy - and she's great! - but if you want to see me, make sure you come to one of the following performances: Feb 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, March 4, 5, 12, 18, 29, 20. Tickets are regrettably expensive for community theater, but I think it's worth it! $24 for regular peeps, $22 for seniors, $14 for students and military with I.D., and $10 for kids.