Stage Door: CCM's Evita

So it's almost Thanksgiving and you need to find some good theater before you can begin working on all the preparations for the big meal later next week. My recommendation — Evita at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Aubrey Berg, who has headed the musical theater training program at the University of Cincinnati for 24 years, directs the show about Eva Duarte Peron's rise to fame and power in Argentina and subsequent fall from grace (she died from cancer at 33). —-On opening night, Berg — whose lifetime of work was honored at the  recent Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for theatre (read my interview here) — told the audience that he directed the same work 24 years ago.

But technology has changed. It was a struggle to project 30 images during performances back in 1986; in 2010, the powerful musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber is accompanied by more than 600 images of the controversial actress, singer and political leader. Senior Alaina Mills totally inhabits the leading role as the "high-flying adored" de facto leader of Argentina in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Equally impressive is Pierce Cassedy as the show's cynical narrator, a character based on political agitator Che Guevara, and Chris Blem is convincing as Juan Perón, the general who rose to power on the crest of Evita's popularity. Berg has assembled a big cast to portray the masses, the military and the wealthy and their wildly divergent opinions of the woman who characterized herself as the soul of Argentina.

This one is definitely worth seeing, but it has a short run. The final performance is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Click here for CityBeat's full preview of Evita and here for ticket and other show information.