A story rooted in history and culture, “Evita” is hitting the Actor’s Playhouse stage from Nov. 1 through Dec. 17. A true rags-to-riches story, “Evita” focuses on the story of Eva Perón’s rise to power from a poor childhood. Andrea Pilar, who plays Eva Perón, is thrilled to be playing a role that is so diverse that the theatre is offering two different productions: one in English and one completely in Spanish.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
“Eva is based off of Eva Duarte or Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina. In the musical, which isn’t necessarily 100 percent historically accurate, she is a very strong-willed woman who finds her way to the top from a lower class in Argentina from a small town. She meets this singer, he buys her tickets to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and kind of has him bring her to the city and then she basically climbs her way to the very top. She meets a colonel, who was doing very well in the military, and they fall in love and get married. She actually becomes the spiritual leader of the country because she represents the lower classes and kind of speaks to them. She has a Robyn Hood theme about her where she takes from the rich and gives to the poor. Unfortunately, she dies very young; she had cervical cancer really early on, and it metastasized. Since it was pretty early, we didn’t have great preventative treatments for her, so she died pretty young. It’s a little bit tragic, so it’s sort of operatic in that way.”
What originally attracted you to this role?
“She’s a powerhouse singer. It’s been played by many fabulous actresses that I admire the most in the industry. Notably, Patty Lapone early on. I was attracted to playing a female role that takes on not only a ton of incredible music but also the sheer power of her. She’s unafraid to speak her mind and take on men. She’s the one who has the say, she’s the one who has the power, and I don’t get to take on roles like that very often so that’s definitely what attracted me to it.”
What is your favorite thing about being apart of this cast?
“I would say that the cast is about 90 percent Latino, and as a Colombian-American in musical theatre, I like to believe that representation matters. It’s just really refreshing to spend time with a group of Latin-American performers and telling our own story. I’d say that that’s the most special part for me. These actors and actresses are some of the most generous and kind that I have ever worked with, they are just fantastic to be around. The spirit of Miami is well alive in in the show.”
What do you think makes this story so unique?
“It’s different than most musical theatre, they think about musical comedy or that everything always has a happy ending. Unfortunately, this show opens with her successes, and in the first scene we see her rise to the top, and then, like we see with many icons who die too soon, if you rise too quickly you are inevitably going to fall. Unfortunately, cancer was her downfall and this story has a very muted, tragic ending in a huge spectacle of a show. I think that’s what sets it apart from anything else that could be maybe a bit more lighthearted. But, it still has moments of comedy, it’s not a total downer.”
What can students attending the show expect?
“Students attending the show can expect to see a very specific perspective on the history of Argentina during this time, especially as it pertains to our society today. I’d say classism is still in effect and this show revolves around aristocracy and the military, and kind of how the aristocracy does not want to lose its privilege, and how these populous icons are trying to make the playing field a little more level. I’d say it’s a little bit of a reflection of our society today.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“One of the other things that has set this production apart from others that I have been a part of is that we will be performing three of the weeks in Spanish. Not only is it more accurate for the characters to be speaking Spanish; it is such a special opportunity for the community in Miami to be able to come out and see the show. Maybe if I had been younger and seen more Latin actors on stage telling our stories, I would have felt a little bit more represented. I hope this lends that opportunity to a younger generation.
For more information on tickets and showtimes, visit actorsplayhouse.org.