Nancy Susan Brown returns to demanding role as ?Evita?
By MARY THERESE BIEBEL firstname.lastname@example.org
If you spot Nancy Susan Brown anywhere between Harding and Swoyersville, don?t be surprised that she?s singing in her car.
For weeks the local actress has been taking every opportunity -- even those 15 minutes on the road between home and rehearsal -- to prepare her voice for ?Evita,? which opens tonight at the Music Box Dinner Playhouse.
?The part goes all over the place, and the range is incredible ? two whole octaves. ?My lowest note?s an F and my highest one?s a G,? said Brown, who is reprising the title role.
The first time she portrayed the formidable Eva Peron for Music Box, about 10 years ago, Brown concentrated on what she had to do musically. This time around, she has paused to analyze the character of the woman whose ambition carried her from poverty through an acting career to marriage to the man who would become Argentina?s president, Juan Peron.
?She definitely had a horrible childhood,? Brown said. ?Unfortunately, that plays into how she behaves later in life.? If you don?t know much about Senora Peron, just listen to lyrics from the musical ? perhaps the refrain ?Good night and thank you, whoever? -- and you?ll hear hints of how she used people.
?When she got to Peron, her life became glamorous,? Brown said. ?But then she gets sick so quickly.?
During Eva?s climb to the top, Brown believes the ?high-flying, adored poor girl (who) makes good, weds famous man,? as she?s been described in song, lost more and more of herself.
?That must be awful,? she said, ?to have to create a persona for yourself as opposed to just being the person you truly are.? Other stars of ?Evita? at Music Box are Joe Sheridan, who is reprising his role as Juan Peron, and Dave Baloga as Che, the revolutionary who sings a continually wry, often amusing commentary on Eva?s life.
The show will run tonight through Aug. 7. Call 283-2195 for reservations.
Tomorrow evening at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, ?Day of the Rope? will use music, dance and storytelling to commemorate the saga of the 1877 mass hanging of a group of miners/labor organizers known as the Molly Maguires.
The men had been found guilty of murder, but their supporters maintain their innocence to this day. So, apparently, does the wall of a jail cell in historic Jim Thorpe, where one of the miners is said to have put his hand to the wall and promised that ? as proof he was unjustly accused -- the imprint would never disappear.
Venetia Stifler of Chicago?s Concert Dance Inc. is choreographer for the show, and Kathy Cowan will sing. ?She?s found some really gut-wrenching songs from that era,? said Vincent DeGiosio, an organizer of the Jim Thorpe Artists Music Series. ?But she?ll start out with lighter music and have the audience sing along.?
The audience is sure to be struck by the poignancy of how difficult life was for the miners and their families, said DeGiosio?s wife, Christie McGorry, a JTAMS organizer who is herself a great-great-grandniece of one of the condemned men.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30. Tickets are $15 and include light refreshments. For reservations, call 325-0249.