A Timeline of Events: EVITA and Eva Perón

Been wondering the timeline of the events in EVITA? Check it out below!

Please note that many of these dates and details have been debated by experts and are not 100% confirmed.

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EVITA is on stage now thru April 27th! Click here for more information and tickets.

Want to read about the history of Eva Peron? Click here to see our previous blog post.

Want to read about the history behind the major scenes in EVITA? Click here to see our previous blog post.

Want to read things to know about the revival of Evita? Click here to see our previous blog post.

See you at the theater!

-DSM Amanda

Evita – A Historical Background for Characters

Earlier this week, I did a blog post about the lady herself, Eva Peron! (Missed it? Click here!) Now I wanted to share a little history about some of the other real-life characters in EVITA, on stage now thru April 27th at the Music Hall at Fair Park!

JUAN PERÓN

Ambitious military figure who is initially ousted from power and then elected President of Argentina in 1946 and creates a powerful government administration with Evita’s help.

Juan Perón’s father was of Sardinian descent and the real family name was Peróni. His formative years were spent on a sheep ranch in the remote southern region of Patagonia. At school he was more successful on the athletics field than in the classroom and he gained admission to the Colegio Militar (Military College) at the age of 16 in 1911.

He continued to excel in sports, graduated two years later as a second lieutenant and progressed to Sargento Cabral Officers’ School. Leaving there as Captain Perón, he entered the Escuela Superior de Guerra (Superior War School) where he became Professor of Military History and was appointed to the War Ministry. He wrote several military volumes and was acknowledged as an expert on matters martial.

In 1936 he was appointed military attache in Chile and his next posting took him to Italy. He absorbed the politics of Mussolini and visited other European states, including Hitler’s Germany. Returning to Argentina and its corrupt regime, Perón believed that only military rule could bring glory back to Argentina. He was instrumental in founding the Grupo de Oficiales Unidos (Group of United Officers) whose policy was simply to establish a military dictatorship. They met little resistance and staged a coup in 1943. Perón became Chief of the Secretariat of the War Ministry – an important man who could help Eva continue to succeed under the new regime.

Perón’s military experience made him painfully aware that he could not survive in office with military backing alone. If his political ambitions were to be realized he needed the support of the majority – the labor forces of Argentina. With this in mind, he obtained the position of Director of the National

Labor Department which in 1943 was elevated to become the Secretariat of Labor and Public Welfare. The 1944 earthquake disaster in San Juan provided him with a further boost to his popularity as he set up a Relief Fund and made sure that the press coverage concentrated on his caring side.

CHE

Our narrator, Che is the charismatic, passionate, hopeful yet cynical guide through the events of Evita’s life. As he narrates, he is present in many scenes, playing different “roles” to provide insight, criticism and commentary from a variety of perspectives.

In Argentina people use the expression “che” in the way that English speakers use “hey” to attract someone’s attention. Argentineans often begin conversations with “Che (name) how are you etc…” As a term of affection it can also be used in the way we might say chum or buddy. Che therefore seemed an appropriate name for the narrator character of Evita. During discussions about the original 1978 production of Evita, the character evolved into a representation of the revolutionary Che Guevara although he would never actually have met Eva Perón. For this new production the creative team have returned the narrator figure’s anonymous status. As an everyman character Che is able to comment more naturally, and directly, on the developments in Eva’s life and career.

MAGALDI

Tango musician who is Evita’s first love interest. He is her “ticket” from small town life to the excitement and possibility of Buenos Aires.

THE MISTRESS

Juan Perón’s lover who Evita sends packing in order to take her place center stage in Perón’s life.

It is a fact that when Perón began his relationship with Eva, the mistress she usurped was just 16 years old and he would occasionally pass her off as his daughter. Rumors of his sexual proclivity may have been exaggerated, but he did seem to like his women young. Eva was 24 years his junior and his third wife was 35 years younger than him.

ENSEMBLE • THE PEOPLE

The ensemble represents the variety of people of Argentina as Evita makes her rise to power and prestige, most dramatically as The Descamisados – “shirtless ones.”

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EVITA is presented by Dallas Summer Musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park thru April 27th! Click here for details and tickets.

See you at the theater!

-DSM Amanda

Things to Know About The Revival of EVITA

The benefits of reviving a show on Broadway is that it can be reinvented and refreshed as if it is a new story being told. Of course, with EVITA, this is not only a musical that has had it’s place in history, but it is one that is full and rich with real-life history. Here are some things to know about the changes and updates that have been made to this iconic and classic musical.

FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY

The creative team has done extensive research about Argentina and the Peróns to present a more authentic look at the story, while still paying homage to the iconic moments.

When ALW and Tim Rice wrote Evita in the 1970s, only Rice had visited Argentina, and there wasn’t as much accessible information about the Peróns outside of Argentina as there is today.

In the 1970s, Latin culture was less familiar to the general English and American public than it is now so the musical was written with an admittedly “Anglo” perspective of Argentine culture for an audience that wouldn’t have had a reference.

ALW and David Cullen have re-orchestrated the show to give it a more authentic, Latin sound.

Rob Ashford’s choreography reflects a more Argentinean style by incorporating tango. Furthermore, this production features more dance than any of its predecessors as dance is an inherent and important part of the Argentine culture.

The design is inspired by Argentine architecture.

NEW SONG

There is a new song added to the score since the original production: Oscar-winning “You Must Love Me” – written for the 1996 film and was included in the ‘06 London production.

CHE

In this production, the narrating role of Che is as it was written for the original concept album – an “everyman” (in Argentina, “che” means “guy”) that serves as the voice of the people; not Che Guevara. Using Che Guevara as inspiration for the role was a choice made by the original production’s director, Hal Prince.

Webber & Rice have said they wrote the role of Che with a pop/rock star in mind (specifically: David Essex)

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Want to read about the history of Eva Peron? Click here to see our previous blog post.

Want to read about the history behind the major scenes in EVITA? Click here to see our previous blog post.

EVITA is on stage now thru April 27th at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Click here for tickets and more information.

See you at the theater!

-DSM Amanda

Evita and Agentine History

The classic and iconic musical EVITA is on stage now thru April 27th!

Are you coming to see the show? Great! Here are some historical facts for you to take a look at before you come and see the show. I love how this show is so rich in history!

EVITA and ARGENTINE HISTORY

BUENOS AIRES

The name of Argentina’s capital city translates as “Fair Winds.” Not only is it the largest city and port in Argentina, but one of the largest cities in the world. Strongly influenced by European culture, it is often referred to as the Paris of South America and is renowned for its sophistication and nightlife. The city was federalized in the 19th century and removed from the Buenos Aires province. At the same time the city limits were extended to absorb the former towns of Belgrano and Flores. In changes to the country’s constitution in 1994 Buenos Aires was declared an autonomous city. The population of the greater Buenos Aires area was recently estimated at eleven million people. It would have been about two million when Eva arrived in 1935.

LUNA PARK

Eva and Perón met at a charity event held in aid of Perón’s Relief Fund to benefit the thousands of San Juan earthquake victims. The final concert of a fundraising “artistic festival” was held at the Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires on January 22, 1944 and Perón invited many film and radio stars to appear, including Eva. Having met, they spent most of the night together and left the festivities together in the early hours. Scandalously, they moved in together soon after and were married the following year. Eva later recalled the gala as her “marvelous day.”

TANGO

The national dance of Argentina, Tango was originally introduced by Spanish settlers from Spain and Morocco. The Argentinean tango originated around 1880 in the bars, gambling houses and brothels on the periphery of Buenos Aires. The distinctive style may have grown from the gauchos visiting brothels. The close contact was shocking in an age when social dancing involved group patterns and certainly no closed holds between man and woman. Argentina developed very fast between 1880 and 1930 and was one of the ten richest nations in the world. The nobility all had second homes in Europe. Holding Argentinean parties to impress their foreign neighbors, the tango became the hit of Parisian salons and gained respectability in Rome and Berlin. In London, Tango Teas were enormously popular and the craze reached America too, helped by the onscreen presence of Rudolph Valentino in the 1920s. Now so popular with the upper classes in Europe, the dance returned to its homeland and was reclaimed by the people of Argentina as one of their national treasures.

THE WEALTHY FEW

Argentinean economic development during the 20th century was rapid due to foreign investment, mainly from Great Britain. Argentina was a British colony in all but name, with British railways, trams, banks, telephones, water systems, clubs, newspapers and sports. There was even a branch of the famous department store Harrods. The country was rich but all the wealth was in the hands of very few.

DESCAMISADOS

The literal translation of Descamisados is “shirtless ones.” While the well-to-do had coined the phrase as an insult to the workers, Eva adopted the phrase for the lower classes, whose support she craved, and turned it into a badge of honor.

THE CASA ROSADA

The Casa Rosada is the official Presidential Palace and Government Headquarters. It is situated on the Eastern side of the Plaza de Mayo at the heart of Buenos Aires. The name (translated as Pink House or Rosy Palace) is derived from the shocking pink color of the external walls. Dating back to the foundation of the city, it is constructed on the site of a fortress, post office and customs house. It was remodelled in 1776 when Buenos Aires became the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. The current building dates from 1873 and was built and painted during the Presidency of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. The famous balcony is traditionally used to address the population gathered in the huge square facing it. As well as Eva, General Galtieri, Diego Maradona and Pope John Paul II have all been seen on the balcony in worldwide media coverage. In the 1996 film of Evita, Madonna sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” on the real balcony. It is believed that Sarmiento chose the shocking pink color of the external walls in an attempt to defuse tension between the two opposing political parties of the time which were represented by the colors red and white. The original color was more likely to have been the result of the cow or bull’s blood which was mixed into the paint in order to help preserve the building’s plaster from the humid climate.

RAINBOW TOUR

As Argentina took its place in the United Nations after the war, Eva Perón embarked on a much-publicized tour of Europe in 1947 as part of a public relations exercise. She met dignitaries in a number of countries including Spain, Italy and France and the whole event was engineered as a nonpolitical tour without Juan Perón at her side. She was well-received in Spain, but the reception in Italy was less effusive. She suffered exhaustion during the tour which was not helped when the British King, George VI, refused to give her the honor of a state visit. Eva did not go to the United Kingdom and a visit to Switzerland went particularly badly (opposition rumors in Argentina even suggested the whole tour was planned to deposit funds in a Swiss bank account). She soon returned home with enough positive press behind her, and the “Rainbow Tour” became part of the iconography that surrounds her to this day.

THE SOCIAL AID FOUNDATION

Eva Perón’s Social Aid Foundation was established to eclipse every other charity in Argentina so that Eva could be revenged on the aristocratic officials of the Society of the Ladies of Benevolence. They had snubbed her by not offering her the role of Honorary President, as was the custom for the President’s wife. By the year of her death the Foundation’s income was equal to one third of the entire Argentine national budget (in the region of 100 million dollars). It paid no tax, received one fifth of the profits from the national lottery, and businesses and the stock exchange were obliged to make donations. Hospitals and schools were built but there were occasions where money was literally thrown in the air or people applied for welfare by lottery, hoping to have their names selected by Eva’s aides. No financial records were kept.

 

EVITA is on stage now thru April 27th at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Get your tickets now by clicking here!

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See you at the theater!

-DSM Amanda

Spiritual Leader of the Nation: Eva ‘Evita’ Perón of Argentina

Spiritual Leader of the Nation:
Eva ‘Evita’ Perón of Argentina

Officially María Eva Duarte de Perón, known as Eva Perón and affectionately nicknamed Evita, this pivotal Argentinian figure not only won her nation’s heart in her short lifetime, but also had a major impact on the country’s politics. With the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical Evita touring North America in 2013, discover the life of the ‘spiritual leader of Argentina’.

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Born in 1919, Evita grew up in rural Argentina in a village called Los Toldos (where there is now a museum situated in the house of her birth). Her mother was the mistress of Juan Duarte and Evita was the youngest of five children from this relationship. Eventually her father abandoned this second family for his legal one, leaving Evita’s mother in financial hardships. Eager to make a name and fortune for herself, Evita left for Buenos Aries at the age of 15.

Evita is celebrated in Argentina for her passion and commitment towards the working class in Argentinian politics. Although she youthfully dreamed of becoming an actress, it was meeting her future husband, Juan Perón, which would change the direction of her life. At the time of their meeting Juan was the Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare, and aspired to become the President. Marrying in 1945, the two worked together to campaign for Juan’s presidency and were immensely popular with the working class because of their focus on workers’ rights and welfare. Many elite figures were reportedly threatened by this, and consequentially sanctioned Juan’s arrest before the election. However, after hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in front of the Government house demanding his release, he was soon freed, allowing him to gain victory in the Presidential Election of 1946.

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Although holding no official political title other than First Lady, Evita was reportedly the Secretary of Labour ‘in everything but name’. She actively and passionately campaigned for workers’ rights, social welfare and higher wages, and was often made public appearances in places such as hospitals and factories, gaining further support. She was also renowned for her charity work, and even started her own organization called the Eva Perón Foundation, which helped children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain scholarships and financial assistance. On top of this, Evita was a supporter of women’s rights, and she is considered to have been influential in the gaining of women’s suffrage in 1947. Evita created the Female Peronist Party, further helping women become more active in politics in Argentina.

With incredible popularity and the nation behind her, Evita considered running for Vice President under her husband in the 1952 elections. This caused tremendous political controversy, with the Argentinian military and the upper class officials outraged at the proposal, while her vast number of supporters literally cheered in their millions at a mass rally, encouraging her to officialise her candidacy. Several days after this rally Evita announced over the radio that she would not run as Vice President. Unknown to her at the time, Evita had advanced cervical cancer and feeling her health degenerating she was unsure whether she had the endurance for the campaign. Instead she continued to support her husband, helping him secure his re-election in June 1952. A little over a month later, she passed away and the country mourned her death. In a ceremony after this sad day, Evita was given the official title, ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’.

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Evita inspired and changed a nation, and the love held towards her can still be felt in Argentina. In an attempt to capture this story and share it with the world, many artists and writers have used Evita as the subject of their work. One such project was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1976 Broadway Evita. With the lyrics written by Tim Rice, this musical was an international success and songs such as ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’ have become a part of musical history. This production was recently revived in Broadway in 2012, and has commenced a North American Tour throughout 2013. Re-exploring the life and influence of this national icon and receiving critical acclaim, Evita is ensuring that the world remembers the passion of Eva Perón, a woman who will forever be remembered as the spiritual leader of Argentina.

EVITA is live on stage presented by Dallas Summer Musicals April 15-27 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

Watch a sneak peek by clicking here!

For more information about the show and to get tickets, visit www.dallassummermusicals.org.

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Article By Andrew Kingsford-Smith