'Show Boat' sinks, 'Evita' steps in Theater: The Mechanic fills a sudden schedule gap with a musical about the wildly popular Argentinian first lady.

December 02, 1998|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

A new, pre-Broadway national tour of "Evita" will replace the previously announced production of "Show Boat" at the Mechanic Theatre next month. "Show Boat" ran into troubled waters when its producer, Livent Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection two weeks ago. The "Show Boat" tour was canceled yesterday, and the Mechanic moved swiftly to replace it.

"Although we are very sorry and disappointed that 'Show Boat' ran into difficulties on its United States tour, we are very excited about the opportunity to have this all-new production of 'Evita,' " said Michael J. Brand, executive director of Jujamcyn Productions, which books and manages the Mechanic.

Calling it "our sizzling 'Evita,' " he added, "We actually were going to bring the show here next season, and we were able to re-route the tour to bring it to Baltimore sooner."

Billed as the 20th anniversary revival, the new production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical is the first major American staging to star Latin actors. The title role will be shared by Natalie Toro, whose credits include Eponine in "Les Miserables" on Broadway and Grizabella in the latest national tour of "Cats," and Ana Maria Andricain, who most recently played Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway and on tour. Andricain will play three of the demanding musical's eight weekly performances.

The production is directed and choreographed by Larry Fuller, the show's original Broadway choreographer. Besides the leads (who also include Raul Esparza as Che and Raymond Jaramillo McLeod as Juan Peron), the revival incorporates a more Latin flavor, including an Argentine tango.

"Evita" will run Jan. 12-24, a half week less than "Show Boat," and curtain time for Tuesday-Saturday evening performances will be 8 p.m., instead of the earlier time announced for "Show Boat."

Tickets for "Show Boat" will not be honored for "Evita," but must be exchanged or returned. Mechanic subscribers will automatically be sent new tickets. Patrons who bought "Show Boat" tickets through a TicketMaster outlet should go to that outlet; if purchased by phone, call 410-752-1200. Tickets bought at the Mechanic box office can be exchanged there; or mail tickets to: Evita Exchange, c/o The Mechanic Theatre Box Office, 25 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, Md. 21201.

Pub Date: 12/02/98

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