Evita Presented By COS Performing Arts Department in Visalia

Mar 20, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Larry Ham, Theatre

by Larry Ham

Evita is a musical that tells the rags to riches to premature death story of Eva Peron, who captured the hearts of the people of Argentina as First Lady in the late 1940s. The music was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the lyrics and book were written by Tim Rice. Evita was one of the most successful musicals of the late twentieth century, and won the Tony award for best musical in 1979. It’s currently being presented by the College of the Sequoias Performing Arts Department.

I won’t bother burying the lead in my review – this production of Evita was as close to perfect as any show I have ever seen.

Obviously, you have to start with the title character, Eva Peron. The performer who takes on this role makes or breaks the show, and Alina Gonzalez is absolutely stunning. I’m really not sure how to adequately express how impressed I was with her singing, acting, and just her presence. It was spectacular, it was inspiring, and it brought tears to my eyes. The two signature songs in the show, “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”, and “You Must Love Me”, were absolutely gorgeous.theatre

Jeshamon Volkerts co-stars in Evita as Che, a member of the Argentine public who singingly narrates the show. His voice and acting were both terrific. This is Jeshamon’s debut at COS, and hopefully, we will see him in many more shows. Eric Valencia does a great job as Juan Peron. His singing voice is just right for a role that demands equal parts power and tenderness. The rest of the cast and ensemble were all great as well.

And now, a few words about the Orchestra. They were spot on for the entire performance. I seriously thought I was hearing pre-recorded music tracks when the Orchestra started playing, because it sounded so perfect. And the mix between the Orchestra and the singers was perfect as well. That’s no small task. I don’t know how many shows I have been to in the past where the music overwhelmed the vocals, or vice versa, but sound designer Nick Terry, and sound technician Brandon Garcia got it just right.

Director James McDonnell did a great job presenting a complex story on the stage of the COS Theater. The choreography was wonderful as well, so kudos to Choreographer Imara Quinonez and Assistant Choreographer Bella Rodriguez-Cuevas.

I suppose I am obligated to find something to criticize. OK, I thought the parking lot was a bit confusing. There. I also think it’s a shame the theater wasn’t completely filled. A show of this caliber should be a complete sell out for every performance.

So, as you can tell, I loved this show. As my wife and I left, the word I kept using to describe the experience of seeing Evita, was “Exhilarating.” Only one weekend remains to see Evita. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Evita is on stage at the College of the Sequoias, 915 S Mooney Blvd. in Visalia, CA. The remaining performances are March 21-24 and tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

Editor’s Note: Photos of the production were not yet available at the time of this posting, but if they become available early this weekend we will add some in, so be sure to check back if you would like to see them. The costumes and wigs for the character of Eva Peron were amazing! Or better yet, go see them in person 🙂

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. The first 16 episodes are now up! You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean. Also check out our other theatre articles and reviews in our Arts and Entertainment section. A new episode went up this week!

Larry Ham is an ongoing contributor to our
Area Arts & Entertainment section where he covers local sports–something he has a great deal of experience in having covered many an area school game through the years for KRDU radio in Dinuba.

1 Comment

  1. Seen play last Sunday and recommend it to all to see. Very well done with a great story line. Seen all our favorite actors from River City. Also if you enjoy history check it out.

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