Avon Players’ Season Ends with the Grandeur and Glamor of ‘Evita’

Epic musical chronicles the life of a political icon  

Left to right: Daniel Romzek as “Juan Peron“ and Lori Smith as “Eva Peron.”
Photo Credit: Bryan Clifford

Avon Players’ 75th season closes with the sweeping biographical musical Evita running May 27 through June 11.

The Tony Award-winning rock opera Evita dramatizes the true rags-to-riches story of Eva Perón (Lori Smith), who, through an indomitable will, rises from humble beginnings to become the First Lady of Argentina and a de facto saint to her people. Eva begins her journey as a poor, illegitimate country girl dreaming of the excitement of city life. She attaches herself to tango singer Augustín Magaldi (Matt Cason), who begrudgingly takes her to the capital city of Buenos Aires. There she transforms herself into a successful radio actress and undeniable public personality. Soon Eva’s social climbing puts her at the side of Colonel Juan Perón (Dan Romzek), whose political star is on the rise. The two marry and become a formidable power couple with Perón being elected President and Eva taking on charitable causes and engaging in high fashion diplomacy. Despite Eva’s triumphs, neither the country’s displaced aristocrats nor the military establishment is pleased with her status as the most powerful woman in Latin America. Additionally, Eva soon finds that not even the strongest of wills can beat back the march of simple human mortality. Narrated by a revolutionary named Che (Adam Wager), who sees the events with clarity and the wisdom of history, Evita includes such favorite songs as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Oh What a Circus,” “Buenos Aires,” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, who had previously collaborated on Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita opened in London’s West End in 1978 and won the Laurence Olivier Award for best new musical. A year later the musical opened on Broadway starring Patti LuPone as Eva and Mandy Patinkin as Che and became the first show of British origin to win the Tony Award for best new musical. Since then, there have been multiple touring productions and revivals, including a 2012 Broadway revival that starred Ricky Martin as Che. The 1996 film adaptation starred Madonna in the title role.                                           

Director John (JD) Deierlein was drawn to Evita in large part because of its score, an important factor in a show that is nearly entirely sung: “Though Andrew Lloyd Webber may be better known today for works like The Phantom of the Opera and Cats, his early collaborations with Tim Rice all but invented the genre of the ‘rock opera,’ and it is exciting to bring to life this early masterpiece that has songs that have stood the test of time in a variety of musical styles.” The production is large in scale with many theatrical trappings and a suitable end to Avon’s anniversary season. “We at Avon Players have never shied away from a challenge and our designers, technicians, and performers have created a production with many layers of artistry to satisfy audiences,” Deierlein said.   

Tickets for all shows are $25. Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at www.AvonPlayers.org. Discounts on matinee tickets are available for seniors and students; call the box office for details.  Additionally, group rates are available by calling the box office. “Like” Avon Players Theatre on Facebook for special offers on tickets. All major credit cards are accepted. All seats are reserved.  Show dates and times follow:

  • Friday, May 27              8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28          8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 29            2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 3               8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 4           8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 5             2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 1               8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 10         8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 75th year of bringing quality entertainment to its community. Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965. With ticket prices set at a fraction of those at a professional theatre (plus free parking and concessions offered on a donation-only basis), a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue. And for regular theatregoers, an affordable outing can be an even better bargain by taking advantage of Avon Players’ season ticket packages, which yield discounts of up to 20% per ticket. Additionally, season ticket holders enjoy priority seating selection and voting privileges in Avon’s annual “Stoney Awards.” Additional information regarding tickets and productions is available by calling the Avon Players box office at 248-608-9077 or by visiting the website: www.AvonPlayers.org.

Cast and Production Staff by Community:

Auburn Hills

  • Jeffrey Monterosso (Ensemble)

Clarkston

  • Dan Romzek (“Juan Perón”)

Clinton Township

  • Patty Hagel (Properties Designer/Set Dresser)
  • Shanon LaFrate (Ensemble)
  • Trevor Sherry (Ensemble)

Fraser

  • Abbey Johnson (Ensemble)

Lake Orion

  • Bill Davenport (Ensemble)

Livonia

  • Zachary Andrew (Ensemble)
  • Rachel Hiatt (Ensemble)

Macomb

  • Matt Kush (Music Director)

Ray

  • Anne Curtis (Costume Designer)

Rochester

  • Mariana Gabriel (Makeup Designer)
  • Caitlin O’Brien (Ensemble)

Rochester Hills

  • John (JD) Deierlein (Director/Lighting Designer)
  • Ryan Donnellon (Ensemble)
  • Clayton Hargrave (Ensemble)
  • Sarah Hartmus (“Mistress”/Ensemble)
  • Brad Holoday (Set Designer)
  • Louise Holoday (Hair Designer)
  • Marlaina Jurco (Ensemble)
  • Michelle Kaiser (Costume Design)
  • Nick Kibler (Sound Designer)

Romeo

  • Hannah Johnson (Ensemble)

Royal Oak

  • Tina Castiglione (Producer)
  • Christiaan Lafata (Ensemble)
  • Ryan Moore (Associate Producer)

Shelby Township

  • Tracy Murray (Ensemble)
  • Lori Smith (“Eva Perón”)

Troy

  • Maritoni Harte (Choreographer)

Washington

  • Matt Cason (“Magaldi”/Ensemble)

Waterford

  • Adam Wager (“Che”)

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