Eva and Juan Peron 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 Peron, Juan Person'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 undergoing 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. Peron is a little corrupt." But he finds some redeeming bits to Peron saying: "When you're driven by ego you always think you're doing something right. That's what I see in Peron. 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."
Billed as the first new production of Evita since the original on Broadway 30 years ago with new orchestration, Evita purists need to brace themselves for the fact that this version 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."
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Evita runs May 6-18 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For information call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $24-$121.