Loved? Hated? Or both? The Rep’s ‘Evita’ portrays Eva Perón’s rise to power | St. Louis Public Radio

Loved? Hated? Or both? The Rep’s ‘Evita’ portrays Eva Perón’s rise to power

Sep 21, 2018

Eva Perón, also known as Evita, was a first lady of Argentina and radio host adored by the “common man,” later becoming a cultural icon in her country. Controversial for using her power and fame to champion women’s and workers’ rights, she often broke norms.

She was the first woman in Argentina's history, for example, to appear in public on the campaign trail with her husband.

She was so loved by many that her body mysteriously went missing for 17 years after her death. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ current musical production, “Evita,” portrays her life on stage.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the play with Steve Woolf, Augustin Family Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and actor Pepe Nufrio, who plays the Che character in “Evita." 

Artistic director Steven Woolf and actor Pepe Nufrio look forward to the rest of the "Evita" production at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“People picked up on what [Evita] was saying, both dramatically and politically. She had a hold,” Woolf said. “That story is still fascinating and very modern and very current, actually, about the power she had over people and how the Argentinians connected to her and –eventually– the world.”

Nufrio said he didn’t know much about the play’s lead character before landing the role of Che, who narrates the play to the audience.

“I went right to Google, as the millennial I am, and it was fascinating to see the different perspectives of what people would say about [Evita],” Nufrio said. He found that some referred to Evita as “fabulous” and “a savior,” while others insisted the opposite.

The play incorporates authentic Argentinian dances, costumes and real video footage of Evita. Woolf noted how the dance numbers “explode off the stage in dance and in costumes and color and exuberance; people are just knocked out.”

“We’ve had standing ovations every single night. People are super responsive [to the play] here in St. Louis,” Nufrio added. “Everyone is eager to understand every single word.”

Post-production

Woolf also touched on the final months of his 30-year-career directing at The Rep as he looks toward retiring after the 2018-2019 season.

“It’s bitter sweet, every moment,” he said, adding that he will still remain involved in The Rep’s productions after he retires. “I can’t walk away from it; it’s too much of me in there.”

Related Event:

What: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ “Evita” production
When: Now through Sept. 30, 2018
Where: 130 Edgar Rd. Webster Groves, MO 63119

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara HamdanCaitlin Lally and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.