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What do you think of the show's (spoken) ending?
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Author:  Jennifer Lynn [ Thu May 12, 2011 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  What do you think of the show's (spoken) ending?

Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but it may have been on the old, vanished version of the board.

The version of the show that made it to Broadway (which is slightly different in some ways from the London version, whose script was published with historical notes and photos) has Che speaking a short epilogue after the embalmers sing their short refrain: "Money was raised to build a tomb, a monument to Evita. Only the pedestal was completed and Eva's body disappeared for seventeen years."

Of course, this all happened in real life (in the case of Evita's posthumous Rainbow Tour, truth really IS stranger than fiction!), and it does seem to add an extra little frisson to the end. (One production I saw had a small crowd around the coffin; at the very last moment of the show, they stepped aside and the body was gone.) It's just that much more irony...not only is Peron on his way out, but even Eva's body vanishes.

Except...it seems very strange to have the finale of a musical be spoken. Especially a musical that's been sung all the way through, with only the barest minimum of spoken dialogue. What's more, even the music accompanying this seems to be anti-climactic, not even much of a final chord. It seems to "break the rules" of a musical...especially a through-sung musical, ESPECIALLY one about an over-the-top figure like Eva Peron. Of course, a case could also be made that the anti-climactic feeling was the POINT.

The spoken part seemed to be a staged version of the "superimposed text" you see at the end of most biopics. (In fact, I'm surprised that the Evita movie didn't make use of a bit of superimposed text over the last notes at the end.)

But I'm still on the fence about it. Much of that is because I've got a soft spot for the original concept album, even with all its flaws (that stupid stupid STUPID insecticide subplot!). It was the first version of this show I ever heard, and had many, many good points to it. But to my mind, the ending of the album was INCREDIBLY effective...that quiet horn version of "Don't Cry For Me" symbolizing Eva's last few breaths...and then...the morticians with their echoing voices singing their refrain to an eerie version of the "Rainbow High" music...you know, you really do NOT want to be listening to that at night with the lights off.

Maybe if they'd had Che's little spoken part first, and THEN had the morticians sing their bit at the tail-end?

What do you guys think? Do you think the show is effective the way it ends now, or what?

As a side note, I rather like the way a local production I saw (that my boss at the library costumed) solved the problem (with permission from the licensing agent, of course). After Eva's death, Che appeared on a balcony above the set (near where they had this projection screen they'd used throughout the show), to say, "Have we said too much? There's nothing more we can think of to say. In the end, whether she was adored or despised, worshipped or feared...she was the woman who seduced a nation." A picture of the real-life Eva appeared on the screen, to one last instrumental refrain of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina."

Author:  Set_Buildin_Dad [ Thu May 12, 2011 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What do you think of the show's (spoken) ending?

I think it is a wise choice. It is like a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence.

Author:  Quique [ Mon May 23, 2011 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What do you think of the show's (spoken) ending?

I see where you're coming from, and for a long time, I just thought ALW and Co. were really bad at coming up with satisfactory endings to their shows. I always thought there could have been a better final moment for Sunset Boulevard in place of that repetitious refrain. The Evita ending also seemed sort of hokey to me. It's like "Oooooh, ahhhhh, really? Disappeared?" Almost seemed like it was inserted at the last minute.

But I don't think that anymore, at least after seeing it staged. Harold had Eva's open casket stage left and lit from above as mourners surrounded it striking various poses of grief. Stage right was Eva's corpse lying on a hospital bed, covered by a bed sheet, with a creepy, stoic, expressionless nurse off to the side also lit from above casting eerie shadows on her face.The composition of the scene was brilliant.

Harold could have ended it there but gave it one last Omph!, or punctuated it as Set_Buildin_Dad said, with Che defiantly walking up to Juan and making a threatening gesture at him right as that last burst of brass and gong strikes, then boldly and confidently walks off stage as the lights fade on an obviously ashamed, humbled, powerless, vulnerable-without-Eva Juan Peron who scurries off stage.

On only listening, it can feel incomplete. But coupled with great staging, it's perfect.

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