Schuster Theatre To Present "Evita"

Posted: April 21, 2016

Gannon University's Schuster Theatre will present Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's  renowned musical "Evita." Curtains will open at 8 p.m. April 21, with additional shows on April 22-23 and April 28-30 starting at 8 p.m., as well as on May 1 at 2 p.m.

Premiered in 1976, "Evita" follows the life of charismatic Argentinian political leader, Eva Peron, during her early life, rise to power and eventual death. It was the first British musical to receive a Tony Award for Best Musical on Broadway in 1979.

Gannon's cast of 12 students and two child actors, have been rehearsing the rock opera since March 7 to transform the Schuster Theatre and bring its audience back in time to Argentina in the '40s.

Challenged at times in adapting "Evita" to a small cast, Jax Vadney, director of the show, said the students are using the music to drive the emotional content, movement, and feel of the show.

"It is different than rehearsing a play in this way," Vadney said. "But, the students are rising up to the challenge and doing incredible, creative work."

Vadney said "Evita" is a show that she has a passion for as a director. "I have been involved in productions of 'Evita' during my career already. I love the story and the music," she said. "This show introduces our students to Argentine music and dance, broadening their experiences to a larger worldview of performing arts."

Productions in the theatre program are selected based on a four-year cycle that guarantees theatre students experience and training in multiple styles of theater.

The decision to do the classical musical of "Evita" was made by the Rev. Shawn Clerkin, director of the theatre program, and Vadney. She said this production wouldn't have been possible without the large group of talented student designers and technicians who work behind the scenes to create the world in which the story is told.

"I see the collaborative support and energy from both sides of this production, performance and design, and it excites me," she said. "It is invigorating to see the students create, to see them figure things out and to see them invested in developing the best product that they can put out there.

"I am very appreciative for the opportunity to direct this production. It is a gift to revisit a show that I have already had a connection to and breathe new life into it with this young and talented cast and crew."

General admission for the performance is $7 and free for Gannon students, faculty and staff who have a current Gannon ID, admission is free. Call the Schuster Theatre Box Office at 814-871-7494 to reserve your tickets.

For more information about "Evita" and other productions put on by Schuster Theatre, please visit or follow the Schuster Theatre on Facebook at  

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