Theater Review: Keith presents ‘Evita’

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

The final performance for several of the graduating seniors at Rockford’s Keith Country Day School was a smashing success. Director James Radloff Jr. continues to choose challenging productions, and Evita tops his list. Having seen the original on Broadway in 1981, I knew the story of Evita Peron and her history as first lady of Argentina. It seemed a controversial subject for a musical, but Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice gave the subject relevance that has lasted over the years.

Heading the cast as Evita is Zoe Jensen. Having followed her career through her teen-age years , I found that she met my greatest expectations. Her stunning vocals and ability to portray such a controversial character makes us aware of her brilliant future. Though she is still undecided about her choice of colleges, we wish her well.

Another senior, Ben Ross, gave his character, Che, complete authority as he became the narrator of the complex story of Argentina at a critical point in its history and the significance of the Perons … another fine actor, he will do well.

Luke Miller as Peron is currently a junior, but his experience is impressive. Having performed at the 2012 Illinois High School Theater Festival, at Midway Village and Pec Playhouse Theatre, his future in theater is assured.

The impressive ensemble consists of mostly underclassmen, but Chloe Hadavas, who also played Peron’s mistress, is also a senior. She plans to study both history and political science in college.

Gloria Lynn is the musical director, and her support for the singers is outstanding. The theater departments of both Rockford College and Rock Valley College continue to contribute to local theater companies, and Jedd Hendry’s magnificent costumes are an important part of this production.

My best wishes to those who are leaving Keith, and I look forward to next year’s productions.

From the April 24-30, 2013, issue

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