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Music: Evita

Evita is the 1970s musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, based off the life of Argentinean First Lady María Eva "Evita" Duarte de Perón, wife of Juan Perón. Based on a True Story - how much depends on whom you believe.

We start at Evita's state funeral. Then we flash back.

In the beginning, Eva María Duarte is a girl from a humble rural Argentine family in the 1930s. She vows to make a better life for herself at any cost, and travels to the capital chasing her dream of becoming a star.

She marries Juan Perón and is a major force in his coming to power. She gives herself to Argentina, championing the working class even while draped in the trappings of luxury. While doing this, she sings lyrics that suggest political repression and duplicitous politics. She somehow ends up much beloved by Argentina, even though she doesn't deserve it.

This play angers many people, some claim it has multiple historical inaccuracies, while others are just angered by the simplistic portrayal of a controversial figure that is still beloved by many. Her supporters see the play as defamation. This doesn't mean to say other Argentines didn't see it, the government even lent the balcony of the presidential palace (the "Pink House") to film the 1996 adaptation.

Began as a rock opera concept album and then adapted into a stage musical in 1978. The West End production starred Elaine Paige and the later Broadway production starred Patti LuPone, both of whom would become theatre legends. Madonna starred in the 1996 film adaptation. It was warmly received by critics and garnered nominations for several Academy Awards and Golden Globes, as well as a few wins.

This musical/film provides examples of:

  • Award Bait Song: "You Must Love Me"
  • Berserk Button: "SCREW THE MIDDLE CLASSES! I WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEM, AND THEY WILL NEVER DENY ME ANYTHING AGAIN!"
  • Concept Album: Featuring pre-Glums Colm Wilkinson.
  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover for the film (and some posters) show Che and Eva singing together during their dance. However, Che and Eva's dance is only an imaginary sequence, and being the All-Knowing Singing Narrator, Che never really interacts with Eva outside of that scene.
  • Crowd Song: "A New Argentina", "Peron's Latest Flame".
  • Dark Reprise: Although the melody of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" is reused throughout the show, "Eva's Final Broadcast" is probably the most typical example.
    • The chorus part of "Rainbow High" gets its own downright chilling Dark Reprise at the end of "Lament."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Che, frequently.
  • Double Edged Answer: The song "Rainbow Tour" ends with them agreeing that Evita's tour of Spain, Italy, and France a success "...we had a few doubts, but the answer is yes. And no. and yes. and no." Che ends with "No."
  • Double Entendre: The line, "Put me down for a lifetime of success. Give me credit; I'll find ways of paying," can be interpreted very differently depending on whether you think "put me down" means "sign me up" or "denigrate me", and "paying" means "recompensing" or "suffering".
  • Downer Ending
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Eva, during "A New Argentina," in reply to Peron bringing up the idea of exile for the second time: "Don't think I don't think like you/I often get those nightmares too."
  • Femme Fatale: Eva's portrayal in the musical in relation to the many love affairs she had before meeting Juan Peron. They helped her advance her career, and then she left them for men who could give her more of what she wanted.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It starts at Eva's funeral.
  • Follow the Leader: Evita was followed by a slew of European sung-through musical biopics about glamourous political women (Elisabeth of Austria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and the ilk) narrated by a sarcastic male character.
  • Greek Chorus: Che, and the chorus in general.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: About midway through the film production, Madonna discovered that she was pregnant with her first child. The film directors went to great lengths to cover up the possibility of her "Eva Peron" getting pregnant, even if it meant removing some scenes of her being carried out of the church for fear she might slip.
  • History Marches On: Eva's entire relationship with Magaldi, which has been called into question by more recent research. (See the Other Wiki for details.)
    • The whole musical falls prey to this. When it was written in the 1970's, there was only one book about Eva Peron published in English, written by a political opponent of the Perons. (Imagine writing a musical about Barack Obama based solely upon his Conservapedia page.) More recent biographers have portrayed Eva much more evenhandedly; she may not have been a saint, but she wasn't a villain, either.
  • Interactive Narrator: Che.
  • Ironic Echo/Meaningful Echo: "So what happens now? Where am I going to?" "Don't ask anymore."
    • The first time this exchange is said, the latter part means "your salvation is here."
    • The second time, it means "shut up and stop whining."
    • The third time, the kicker, it means "it's hopeless."
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: In the film version of "Rainbow Tour", Eva is greeted in Italy by Demonstrators who decry her and her husband as fascists. Her response: "They called me a whore! They actually called me a whore!"
  • "I Want" Song: Eva's lyrics in "Eva, Beware of the City" and the entire point of "Buenos Aires."
  • Large Ham: Both Che and Eva. Justified in Eva's case, since the character can be seen as hamming it up for the Argentinian people.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The final song, "Lament," suddenly changes to a creepy theme in the final seconds while Che eerily narrates, "Money was raised to build a tomb - a monument to Evita. Only the pedestal was completed, and Evita's body disappeared for seventeen years." Cue curtain call. This was (thankfully) dropped from the film.
    • Another portion cut from the film was what happened immediately before the ending narration, with embalmers moving to preserve her body for her public.
  • List Song: Rainbow High.
  • Lonely at the Top: Lament.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "A New Argentina".
  • Mood Whiplash: Act II opens with "On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada," an unsettling song in which Perón addresses the masses of his supporters (who eerily chant his name) after being elected President. Then, the crowd calls for Eva, who appears on the balcony and sings the famously beautiful "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." As soon as she finishes, the music becomes sinister once again, the Ominous Spanish Chanting is turned Up to Eleven, and Eva delivers a terrifying speech.
  • Mr. Exposition: Che does a lot of this.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: After her pet name.
  • The Movie
  • Movie Bonus Song: "The Lady's Got Potential" and "You Must Love Me".
    • The latter was introduced to the stage version starting with the 2006 West End production and continuing into the 2012 Broadway production. According to cast member Michael Cerveris (Juan), it was included to remind the audience that Juan and Eva came to love each other passionately, even if their relationship began as a mutual agreement to assist each other in their political ambitions.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: During "A New Argentina", Juan leads the descamisados in a stunning rendition of... his political platform. And it's badass.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The funeral has the mourners singing "Salve Regina" to the tune of "Oh, What a Circus". And before this, they're clearly chanting "Requiem Aeternam" briefly.
  • Pretty in Mink: Since the real Evita wore loads of furs. One of her most famous outfits included a mink coat, which was copied for the movie.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Waltz for Evita and Che with both of them doing this to the other
  • Regional Riff: The orchestration of "Rainbow Tour" plays with this. Each verse has a different sound meant to evoke the different countries Eva visits. On the Original Broadway Cast Recording, Mandy Patinkin imitates the regional accents as well.
  • Rose Tinted Narrative.
  • Sequel Hook: "Money was raised to build a tomb; a monument to Evita. Only the pedestal was completed, and Evita's body disappeared ... for seventeen years." The liner notes to the Broadway Cast album state that the story of her body was almost as interesting as the story of her life.
  • Sexophone: Featured in "I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You." Although Eva is seducing Perón not with her body, but with the advantage she could give his political career.
    • In the 2006 London revival and the 1980 original Spanish production, most of the saxophone parts of the show were re-orchestrated with accordions.
  • Small Town Boredom
  • Starts with Their Funeral: Starts with Evita's state funeral and then flashes back, of course
  • Swiss Bank Account: The corrupt government's lavish spending is explained in the song "And The Money Kept Rolling In (and Out)", which is all about Eva's charity work until the last verse:
    If the money keeps rolling in what's a girl to do?
    Cream a little off the top for expenses—wouldn't you?
    But where on Earth can people hide their little piece of Heaven?
    Thank God for Switzerland
    Where a girl and a guy with a little petty cash between them
    Can be sure when they deposit no-one's seen them
    Oh what bliss to sign your checks as three-o-one-two-seven
    Never been accounts in the name of Eva Peron!
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Throughout the film version, Madonna had undergone 85 costume changes, 20 more than Elizabeth Taylor in the film Cleopatra (including 39 hats, 45 pairs of shoes, and 56 pairs of earrings), which is enough to earn her a spot in the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records! That's a REAL Unlimited Wardrobe!
  • Villain Song: While Che isn't quite the villain (from his point of view, it's Eva who's the villain), his opening number "Oh, What a Circus" is an excellent example. Another one is "The Art of the Possible" with Peron.
    • Che was portrayed as a single character in the stage play, but in the movie, he serves more of an "Everyman" purpose; some of the people Che is guised as (e.g., a bartender, one of the Argentinian townspeople in the second half of "And The Money Kept Rolling In") think that Evita is doing good, others don't.


KamelotRock OperasFood For The Gods
I'm BreathlessMusic/MadonnaThe Immaculate Collection
Everyone Says I Love YouThe MusicalFame
EraserheadCreator/The Criterion CollectionThe Exterminating Angel
Jesus Christ SuperstarMusic of the 1970sWhitesnake
Jesus Christ SuperstarAlbums IndexPinkerton

alternative title(s): Evita
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