Schuster Theatre prepares for ‘Evita’


Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre drama students have been faithfully preparing in past weeks for the upcoming performance of “Evita,” directed by Jax Vadney.
“Evita” is a popular musical following the life of Argentinian political leader, Eva Peron.
The plot follows the early life of Peron, her rise to power and eventual death.
The play was originally performed in 1976 as a rock opera, and received the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Musical in London.
It received more recognition in 1979 when it was the first British musical to win the Tony Award for Best Musical on Broadway.
Lyrics for the musical were composed by Tim Rice, and accompanying music was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Auditions for “Evita” occurred Jan 25 and 26, with rehearsals beginning on March 7.
“Evita” was selected in December to be the final Schuster Theatre production of the year.
Schuster Theatre productions are selected on a four-year cycle on genres, guaranteeing students will have experience and training in multiple areas of theatre before their graduation.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the musical production was blocked to be of the classical style.
Vadney said she believed this was a challenging, but well-fitting piece for Gannon drama students.
“This show introduces our students to Argentine music and dance, broadening their experience to a larger world of performing arts,” she said. “‘Evita’ is a good challenge for our students to undertake. There is very little speaking that happens. Almost all of the show is sung.”
Cast members include Zak Westfall (Che), Allie Leng (Eva), Michael Haas (Peron), Tom Barton (Magaldi), Jenna Sulecki (Mistress), Kassie Carlson, Megan Hamm, Karalyn Headley, Dominic Hipple, Brandon Saraniti, Stephen Haywiser (Ensemble), Emily Munsee, Molly Sawdey (Children’s Ensemble), Bethany Lewis and Lauren Sovisky (Chorus/Movers).
Sovisky, a freshman communication major and student technician, encouraged students to come to the show when interviewed.
“Not many people know what ‘Evita’ is about, and I encourage them to find out first- hand by coming to the play,” she said.
“Come to ‘Evita’ because it’s not something you’ll likely see again. It’s a small cast with a lot of big voices.”
Performances are at 8 p.m. April 21-23 and April 28-30, as well as at 2 p.m. on May 1.
Gannon students, faculty and staff will have their admission fee waived with the presentation of a current Gannon ID.
Admission will be $7 for all others.
For reservations, call the Schuster Theatre Box Office at 814-871-7497. Upcoming Schuster Theatre events can be found at
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