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Drayton's scaled-down Evita is more intimate

By Robert Reid
The Record

Susan Gilmour Evita is one of the earliest examples of what became known as megamusicals.

What distinguishes the megamusical from the classical Broadway musical is its scale and visual dynamism.

The main challenge facing Drayton Entertainment is scaling down Andre Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's celebrated pop opera without diminishing the dynamism that defines the form.

The production that opened Thursday in Drayton does lose something - call it visual punch for lack of a better term - by being reduced in scale. However, this has more to do with the musical itself than with the creative or production values.

More importantly, director Anne L. Allan, set designer Stephen Degenstein, choreographer David Connoly and a cast anchored by Susan Gilmour in the title role and David Rogers as Che successfully present the essence and the spirit of the musical...

Gilmour a veteran of both musical and dramatic theatre, makes a memorable Drayton debut by pulling her character down off the pedestal and presenting a humane, accessible, sympathetic character - for all her ambition and self-delusion.

Her portrayal of the charismatic Argentenian First Lady - described as equal parts bedroom fantasy and saint - benefits from Gilmour's ability as both a vocalist and an actor...

It's safe to say Alex Mustakas and company have left the best to last.