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Don't Cry For Me Madonna
By DAVID RICHARDSON
When I first heard that Madonna was going
to be portraying Evita Peron on the wide
screen, 1 had a momentary concern that if
this trend keeps up, other pop stars may
attempt to portray famous women in a
musical format. Shudders ran through
me as I envisioned LaToya Jackson
playing Winnie Mandela; Debbie Gibson as Lady Bird Johnson; or even Courtney Love from Hole as a wacky singing
and dancing Mother Theresa. Okay,
okay, back to Evita.
For those unfamiliar with the story,
allow me to give you a brief synopsis. The
movie opens with an audience in a movie
theater being notified of the death of
their political and spiritual leader,
Evita Peron. Amidst all the ensuing
despair and grief, we see a stolid figure in
the form of Che (played brilliantly by
Antonio Banderas) who acts as a narrator and Greek chorus to the story. He compares the madness of the public to a circus.
Then we move into
flashback territory (and I must
inject that the transitions between
scenes seem awkward, choppy, and at
times a bit out of
focus, a problem
eliminated onstage by intermissions, but one that
should have been
addressed by director. Alan Parker-
Fame, The Commitments.) Hence, we have Evita as a dark
haired child defiantly breaking her way
into a chapel to see her father put to rest,
and being lhat she was illegitimate, she
was somewhat less than welcomed by
Moving along, the movie takes us to later
years where Evita becomes an ambitious
young woman longing to flee her home
with her musician lover and head to the big
city of Buenas Aires. She convinces the
singer Magaldi to take her and he does,
then dumps her, leading to one of the movies best ballads, 'Another Suitcase,
Eventually, she becomes a model and
goes through a series of men she uses to
moves up. Finally, at a charity benefit
she meets Colonel Juan Peron who is
obviously on his way up like herself.
They join forces and she kicks Peron's
mistress out in a hilariously bitchy reprise of 'Another Suitcase.'
Peron's views endup getting him
arrested but Evita comes to his aid, doing
radio announcements in his favor
directed at the working class, or the
"descamisados" as she refers to
After Peron is released from jail, he is
elected president and on the balcony of
the Rosa Cosada, Evita sings, to the people, the classic song "Don't Cry For Me
Argentina" when suddenly, instead of
just focusing on her singing the song, the
film makers fell it necessary to treat us
to an MTV style montage of the first half of
the film, as if we couldn't remember.
This, I found to be extremely irritating.
Thereafter, we see Evita putting
together lhe Eva Peron foundation,
helping the poor, and embarking on lhe
famous Rainbow Tour, to promote her
counlry, and perhaps herself as well.
Returning from the tour where she was not
always kindly received. She appears tired
and is, in fact, dying.
In one of the more touching moments of
the movie, a haggard
looking Evita sings a
new song called "You
Must Love Me" which
has top 40 written all
over it. Then, of
course, she dies and a
(Although, it must be
pointed out that not
everyone was a fan,
and she had many a
critic, a fact clearly
shown in the movie.)
So. the big question
on everyone's lips
must be, "How was
>he is no Palti LuPone,
in Broadway for many
years. Nor does she have to he since she
brings a fresh interpretation lo the production lhat I didn't really expect. Some
of the parallels between her life and
Evita's are obvious, but in this case, life-
imitaling art is not such a bad thing.
The rest of the cast is also superb with fine
performances from Mr. Banderas, and
Broadway star Jonathan Price. The
score by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber is delightful. The only problem
audiences may have with this film is that it
is basically a rock-opera (no spoken
words, as everything is done in song).
These have noi traditionally been popular in recent years. Time will tell the tale
of whether or not the film and genre will
While Madonna sings "You Must Love
Me" in the back ground, I think to
myself...nol always, but this time, yes.
This film rates ***.
who did the role i
(Continued from page I)
and connect with a spiritual base,"
Holliday has an interesting theory as to
why she has connected so well with the
gay and lesbian community. "What made
me connect with gays and lesbians was
my character in Dreamgirls," she opined.
"Effie sings from experience and a great
deal of pain. She is basically singing a
song of rejection and gays and lesbians
fight for acceptance. They can relate to
Holliday says many of her fans connected
to her because of the songs she sang and
being overweight. "Many people were
upset with me because I lost weight," says
Holliday who believes her weight was a
positive to some people because they
could relate to someone who, like them,
did not fit into a societal stereotype.
Holliday has assembled a 16-track collec-
12 HOUSTON VOICE/DECEMBER 27, 1996
tion on her latest CD, "The Best of Jennifer Holliday", on Geffen records.
"When Geffen Records told me they
wanted to release a compilation of my
work, I was very happy," recalled Holliday. "Then, when the company asked me
to be involved in choosing Ihe material
for the album, I was truly honored. I'm so
glad we were able to present both the
chart records and some of my personal
Holliday will perform many of those hits
and personal favorites during her New
Year's Eve performance at the Alley Theaier Ihe show begins at 9 p.m. and is
followed by a buffet reception after the
performance. If you have never seen
Jennifer Holliday perform, you should.
She is a testament to powerful superlative
skills and soulful artistry.
For ticket information, contact the Alley
Theater at 228-8421.