Evita

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Evita-1243195947.jpg

Evita is the 1970s musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based off the life of Argentinean First Lady María Eva "Evita" Duarte de Perón, wife of Juan Perón. Based on a True Story -- how much so depends on whom you believe.

We start at Evita's state funeral. Then we flash back.

In the beginning, Eva María Duarte is a girl from a humble rural Argentine family in the 1930s. She vows to make a better life for herself at any cost, and travels to the capital chasing her dream of becoming a star. Attaching herself to, using, and then abandoning a series of lover/mentors, she rapidly scales the ladder of Argentinian show business, until she is the country's biggest star and a household name.

She meets and marries Juan Perón, and becomes a major force in his own rise to power. She gives herself to Argentina, championing the working class even while draped in the trappings of luxury. While doing this, she sings lyrics that suggest political repression and duplicitous politics. She somehow ends up much beloved by Argentina, even though she doesn't deserve it.

This play angers many people. Some claim it has multiple historical inaccuracies, while others are just angered by the simplistic portrayal of a controversial figure who is still beloved by many. Her supporters see the play as defamation. This doesn't mean to say other Argentines didn't view it well -- the government even lent the balcony of the presidential palace (the "Pink House") to film the 1996 adaptation.

Evita began as a rock opera concept album and then was adapted into a stage musical in 1978. The West End production starred Elaine Paige and the later Broadway production starred Patti LuPone, both of whom would become theater legends. Madonna starred in the 1996 film adaptation. It was warmly received by critics and garnered nominations for several Academy Awards and Golden Globes, as well as a few wins.

Tropes used in Evita include:
  • Aborted Arc: Unlike the original musical version, the film completely glosses over Eva's unsuccessful fight for the vice-presidency, other than a few puzzling lines thrown around by Che and Perón's generals here and there.
  • Award Bait Song: "You Must Love Me".
  • Berserk Button: "SCREW THE MIDDLE CLASSES! I WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEM, AND THEY WILL NEVER DENY ME ANYTHING AGAIN!"
  • Concept Album: Featuring pre-Glums Colm Wilkinson.
  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover for the film (and some posters) show Che and Eva singing together during their dance. However, Che and Eva's dance is only an imaginary sequence, and being the All-Knowing Singing Narrator, Che never really interacts with Eva outside of that scene.
  • Crowd Song: "A New Argentina" and "Perón's Latest Flame".
  • Dark Reprise: Although the melody of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" is reused throughout the show, "Eva's Final Broadcast" is probably the most typical example.
    • The chorus part of "Rainbow High" gets its own downright chilling Dark Reprise at the end of "Lament".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Che, frequently.
  • Double Edged Answer: The song "Rainbow Tour" ends with them agreeing that Evita's tour of Italy, France, and England was a success "...we had a few doubts, but the answer is yes. And no. and yes. and no."
  • Downer Ending
  • Femme Fatale: Eva's portrayal in the musical in relation to the many love affairs she had before meeting Juan Peron. They helped her advance her career, and then she left them for men who could give her more of what she wanted.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It starts at Eva's funeral.
  • Greek Chorus: Che, and the chorus in general.
  • History Marches On: Eva's entire relationship with Magaldi, which has been called into question by more recent research (see the Other Wiki for details).
    • The whole musical falls prey to this. When it was written in the 1970's, there was only one book about Eva Peron published in English, written by a political opponent of the Peróns (imagine writing a musical about Barack Obama based solely upon his Conservapedia page). More recent biographers have portrayed Eva much more evenhandedly; she may not have been a saint, but she wasn't a villain, either.
  • Interactive Narrator: Che.
  • "I Want" Song: Eva's lyrics in "Eva, Beware of the City" and the entire point of "Buenos Aires".
  • Large Ham: Both Che and Eva. Justified Trope in Eva's case, since the character can be seen as hamming it up for the Argentinian people.
  • Last-Note Nightmare: The final song "Lament" suddenly changes to a creepy theme in the final seconds while Che eerily narrates, "Money was raised to build a tomb - a monument to Evita. Only the pedestal was completed, and Evita's body disappeared for seventeen years." Cue curtain call. This was (thankfully) dropped from the film.
  • List Song: Rainbow High.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "A New Argentina".
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: After her pet name.
  • Mood Whiplash: Act II opens with "On The Balcony of the Casa Rosada", an unsettling song in which Perón addresses the masses of his supporters (who eerily chant his name) after being elected President. Then, the crowd calls for Eva, who appears on the balcony and sings the famously beautiful "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". As soon as she finishes, the music becomes sinister once again, the Ominous Spanish Chanting is turned Up to Eleven, and Eva delivers a terrifying speech.
  • The Movie
  • Movie Bonus Song: "The Lady's Got Potential" and "You Must Love Me".
  • Mr. Exposition: Che does a lot of this.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The funeral has the mourners singing "Salve Regina" to the tune of "Oh What a Circus". And before this, they're clearly chanting "Requiem Aeternam" briefly.
  • Pretty in Mink: Since the real Evita wore loads of furs. One of her most famous outfits included a mink coat, which was copied for the movie.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Waltz for Evita and Che with both of them doing this to the other
  • Regional Riff: The orchestration of "Rainbow Tour" plays with this. Each verse has a different sound meant to evoke the different countries Eva visits. On the Original Broadway Cast Recording, Mandy Patinkin imitates the regional accents as well.
  • Rose-Tinted Narrative.
  • Sexophone: Featured in "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You". It's subverted, though, in that Eva is seducing Perón not with her body, but with the advantage she could give his political career.
    • Completely averted in the 2006 London revival and the 1980 original Spanish production, where most of the saxophone parts of the show were re-orchestrated with accordions.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: Starts with Evita's state funeral and then flashes back, of course
  • Swiss Bank Account: The corrupt government's lavish spending is explained in the song "And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out)", which is all about Eva's charity work until the last verse:

If the money keeps rolling in what's a girl to do?
Cream a little off the top for expenses -- wouldn't you?
But where on Earth can people hide their little piece of Heaven?
Thank God for Switzerland
Where a girl and a guy with a little petty cash between them
Can be sure when they deposit no-one's seen them
Oh what bliss to sign your checks as three-o-one-two-seven
Never been accounts in the name of Eva Perón!

  • Trailers Always Lie: The television commercials for the original Broadway production were specially crafted and filmed using snippets of songs and scenes that were assembled in a way completely unrelated to when and where they appeared in the show, but instead made it seem that they were all part of one musical number.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Throughout the film version, Madonna had undergone 85 costume changes, 20 more than Elizabeth Taylor in the film Cleopatra (including 39 hats, 45 pairs of shoes, and 56 pairs of earrings), which is enough to earn her a spot in the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records! That's a real Unlimited Wardrobe!
  • Villain Song: While Che isn't quite the villain (from his point of view, it's Eva who's the villain), his opening number "Oh What a Circus" is an excellent example. Another one is "The Art of the Possible" with Perón.
    • Well, if you want to get technical, Che was portrayed as a "single" character in the stage play, but in the movie, he serves more of an "Everyman" purpose; some of the people Che is disguised as (e.g. a bartender, one of the Argentinian townspeople in the second half of "And the Money Kept Rolling In") think that Evita is doing good, others don't.
      • As often happens in politics, swing opinion can turn on a dime.