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Today in History (1979): ‘Evita’ the musical opens at the Broadway Theater

It’s been 34 years since Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s award-winning British musical “Evita” first set sail across the pond!

Argentine political leader María Eva Duarte de Perón is the central figure of ‘Evita.’ She rose to power in the mid-‘40s, and is the second wife of former president Juan Péron. She was the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. Photo via Wikipedia.

“Evita” premiered at the Broadway Theater located on 1681 Broadway in New York City on September 25, 1979. At the helm of the very first production was Harold Price, who also directed the choreography with Larry Fuller. Playing the part of Eva was Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin as Che Guevarra, and Bob Gunton as Péron. “Evita” staged its last performance on June 26, 1983 after 1,567 performances, and is currently among the 50 longest-running shows on Broadway.

“Evita” being staged at the Broadway Theater in 1979. Photo via Broadway Spotted.

But prior to the Broadway production, “Evita” was first a 1976 rock concept album. Its very first production was held at the Prince Edward Theater in London’s West End on June 21, 1978, and initially starred Elaine Paige as Eva, David Essex as Che, and Joss Ackland as Péron. From that day until it closed on February 18, 1986, a total of 3,176 performances had been staged.

Poster via Wikipedia.

“Evita” was such a successful production that it garnered numerous awards under its belt, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical (West End production) and the Tony Award for Best Musical (Broadway). The latter honor gave “Evita” the distinction of being the first British musical to have received it.

Aside from London and New York, “Evita” also had productions in Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, and touring productions at different cities in the US, UK, and Ireland. In 1996, a film adaptation was released starring queen of pop Madonna as Eva, Antonio Banderas as Che, and Jonathan Pryce as Péron. It earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song (“You Must Love Me”) and a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Madonna).

Video via YouTube

More recently, various revivals had already been held at the West End (2006) and in Broadway (2012), and a US Tour is ongoing.

All information were sourced from Wikipedia,, and Broadway World.

Like this article? Check out more stories from our Today in History and Throwback Thursday series.

written by chooolss

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