Preview: Evita, Playhouse

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EVITA, one of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s best loved musicals, returns to the Playhouse next week with Wet Wet Wet’s Marti Pellow in the pivotal role of Che Guevara.

Telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, Evita charts Eva’s journey from her humble beginnings through to extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status, which ultimately lead her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.

Marti Pellow, left, and Madalena Alberto as Evita Peron. Picture: Comp

Marti Pellow, left, and Madalena Alberto as Evita Peron. Picture: Comp

Pellow plays Che, a narrator who reflects the voice of the Argentine people; linked to Eva by destiny he brings conflict to the story of Eva’s rise to fame.

Strident, bombastic and at times haunting, Evita began life as a concept album in 1976. The success of this - with names such as Tony Christie, Paul Jones, Barbara Dickson and Colm Wilkinson - the original Jean Valjean in Les Miserables as Che - led to a West End production in 1978. Starring the likes of Joss Ackland, David Essex and Elaine Paige, the rock opera won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical.

On New York’s Broadway a year later, it became the first British musical to receive the Tony Award for Best Musical. Today the show boasts more than 20 major awards, and in 1996 was adapted for the big screen with Madonna in the role of Eva and Antonio Banderas as Che.

At the Playhouse next week, expect to hear all the iconic songs, many of which were chart toppers in their own right. Songs like Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, You Must Love Me, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

Evita, Playhouse, Greenside Place, 27 January-6 February, 7.30pm (2.30pm) £12.90-£45.90, 0844-871 3014