ACT­ING OUT ‘Evita’ hits the stage

GA Voice - - A&e - By JIM FARMER

Few mu­si­cals are as beloved in the LGBT com­mu­nity as “Evita.” The An­drew Lloyd Web­ber clas­sic chart­ing the rise and fall of Ar­gen­tine po­lit­i­cal lead­ers Eva and Juan Peron won the 1980 Tony Award and be­came a movie mu­si­cal star­ring Madonna in 1996. We caught up with Brian Clow­dus, the out artis­tic di­rec­tor of Serenbe Play­house, who will be di­rect­ing the mu­si­cal at his com­pany with as­sis­tance from out chore­og­ra­pher Bubba Carr, who will han­dle some of the dance move­ment.

Ge­or­gia Voice: How did “Evita” land in your cur­rent sea­son?

Clow­dus:

“Evita” was the first show I chose for the sum­mer. It be­came the an­chor for the sea­son. It’s a clas­sic rags to riches story. I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in Eva Peron’s jour­ney. For the time pe­riod, it was so ground­break­ing to have a fe­male leader of that mag­ni­tude.

Tell us about your cast.

Randi Garza plays Evita. She is in­cred­i­ble. When we an­nounced “Evita,” in my head I thought we’d have to go to New York to get an Evita. But Randi came in and killed it. We are bring­ing in a Broad­way ac­tor, Char­lie Brady, to play Che. We also have an au­then­tic Peron, an Ar­gen­tinian opera singer.

Tell us about your per­sonal history with the show?

I saw the movie, of course, and I saw the tour when it was at the Fox. But when I de­cide to di­rect some­thing, I sep­a­rate my­self from past ma- Out di­rec­tor Brian Clow­dus says au­di­ences will feel im­mersed in the ‘Evita’ en­vi­ron­ment at Serenbe’s in-the-round set­ting. (Cour­tesy terial. I don’t want to be in­flu­enced. I thought the tour was ex­cit­ing, be­cause it had a re-in­vented qual­ity and I loved how full of dance it was. Typ­i­cally “Evita” is not a dance show.

What is the gay ap­peal?

Clearly this is a won­der­ful time to be a gay Amer­i­can with what is hap­pen­ing. The won­der­ful thing is, Eva was a po­lit­i­cal per­son for her peo­ple. She fought for the un­der­dog the same way we have to fight as un­der­dogs. And she is just fab­u­lous—Patti Lupone made the role so iconic be­cause of her per­sona and star power.

How do you plan on giv­ing it the Serenbe touch?

The set­ting is in­cred­i­ble. It is set out­doors, in the round. The bal­cony is in the mid­dle of the au­di­ence. The au­di­ence will feel im­mersed into the en­vi­ron­ment. In past pro­duc­tions I’ve seen the char­ac­ter is larger than life, and it can be harder to re­late. I want this “Evita” to con­nect with the au­di­ence. She was a real per­son and the au­di­ence mem­bers are her peo­ple.

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