Eva and Juan Perón were in love “but it was definitely business first and foremost,” says actor Sean MacLaughlin, who’ll play the Argentine dictator when Tony Award winner Evita, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, returns to the Hobby Center thanks to Theatre Under the Stars. The musical focuses on Eva Perón, Juan Perón’s second wife, who rises from the slums, is enshrined as a champion of the poor and is more popular than her husband. She becomes more and more involved in politics and social change and decides to run for the vice presidency while suffering from increasingly frail health. “They love each other because they love what they do. I think he sees her as a wonderful way of getting what he wants,” MacLaughlin says. As for his own character, MacLaughlin says, “Mr. Perón is a little corrupt.” But he finds some redeeming bits to Perón, saying: “When you’re driven by ego, you always think you’re doing something right. That’s what I see in Perón. He thought he was doing the right thing because the people were guiding him by saying, ‘Yes, I agree.’ He wanted to help people while he was also helping his own ego.”

Evita purists need to brace themselves for the fact that this version — billed as the first new production of Evita since the original on Broadway 30 years ago, with new orchestration — incorporates the song “You Must Love Me” from Madonna’s movie version. There’s also new choreography courtesy of Tony Award winner Rob Ashford. Tony and Olivier-Award winner Michael Grandage directs, and according to MacLaughlin has “reinvented this piece; you can see it through Eva’s eyes, how she would see the city.”

7:30 p.m. Sunday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Through May 18. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $24 to $121.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: May 6. Continues through May 18, 2014


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