If you didn’t go to VSU’s Theatre and Dance Department’s enormous musical, Evita this spring you missed out! Evita is an operetta that is the portrayal of Eva Duarte Peron’s life: a woman who goes from unlucky occurrences to almost being Vice President of Argentina! A plethora of people came to the show and we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about it!
We (Kenya & Jazzë) were lucky enough to know so much about the production because we were a part of the ensemble cast! People see the productions from our department but don’t know what really goes into it; it’s a tremendous amount of work and dedication.
First off, our audition began on January 13th at approximately 6:30 p.m. We get call numbers based off of what we do. For instance, if you’re singing and doing a monologue, such as Jazzë, you’re heard first. If you’re only doing a monologue, such as Kenya, you’re placed in the last group!
Jazzë (left) and Kenya (right)
Kenya: I wanted to be in Evita because I loved the film and so I decided to sing and do a monologue. I haven’t sung in such a long time but I gathered up enough confidence to do it.
Jazze: I wanted to be in Evita because I love doing musicals; musicals are the only place where songs and dance take over when words just aren’t enough!
That Friday was the day that we all found out what we’d be casted in; that is, if we were casted in anything at all!
Kenya: I saw the music director, Michael Hadary, in the hallway and he came up to me and told me that I was in the production. I was shocked! Anyone in a musical at VSU has to be able to sing, act, and dance and if I was casted that meant my singing abilities weren’t THAT bad. I was so proud of myself.
Jazze: The fact that I was a transfer student this semester, I wasn’t sure if I would be cast but boy was I wrong! There was my name on the callboard! Talk about sheer excitement to get to work!
Rehearsals were from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. from Sundays to Thursdays. Sometimes we spent hours singing and learning about pitch ranges and our voices, and other times we spent hours on blocking and dancing. It was a tough process juggling Evita, homework, other organizations, and keeping our sanity, but we did it.
The week before the show was the TOUGHEST! We had a 10-12 hour rehearsal. This means we worked ten out of twelve hours, getting a two-hour break during the process! During this rehearsal time, we went over everything with lights, sounds, and any other technical elements. One kid fell asleep, missed his cue in a song, and we had to start over! Bummer! Ugh! Incorporating the Orchestra was a bit confusing and hard but we managed to do it. The Orchestra stayed behind the stage in the scene shop looking at a monitor to know when to play.
Jazze: Getting into my wig was no joke! The fact that my hair is so curly, I had to straighten it, wrap it and put two wig caps on to make sure my hair laid as flat as possible! Talk about a process!
Kenya: Show week was so exhausting! We rehearsed with our costumes on for three days before opening night. It was intense. Our call time was at 5:15 p.m. and we had to do our hair and makeup and mic checks. After that we did warm ups, which consisted of stretching, gaining energy, and playing games to help us relax. Everyday was something new and exciting!
At the end of our last show, when we did curtain calls and bowed, we all cried. Although we were so relieved to finally be done because it really took up a lot of time, we knew we would miss it tremendously.
Kenya: I learned to love and grow with everyone in the cast and I’ve never met a more wonderful and talented group of people.
From left to right: Carla Paige, Chela North, Christie Jo Mayo, Jazzë Lewis, and Kenya DeLouis
“Have I said too much? There’s nothing more that I can say to you. But all you have to do is look at me to know that every word is true.”
Evita: Fun facts!
Most people think that a show is only what you see on stage, but it’s actually a show backstage as well! Someone should seriously write a TV Show called “The Show Behind the Show.” Everything that goes on behind the scenes is choreographed, from the curtain changes, to bringing the bed on and off of the stage; even the light cues!
The production of Evita had over 400 light cues! Can you imagine flipping your light switch on and off 400 times!?
Also, the costume changes are intense!! People are running back and forth ripping this off and putting this on and it has to look effortless when the actors get on stage!
Evita was such a wonderful production to be a part of! We hope you all enjoyed it!