For the past couple years, Nick Duckart has spent a lot of time being Juan Peron.
“I’ve played him three times in the past year-and-a-half or two years,” Duckart said.
Being Juan Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” is not something he consciously aimed to do, he said. But he’s not unhappy about it, either.
He’s especially happy about his latest turn as Peron, in the Asolo Repertory Theatre production that opens Saturday.
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“This is totally unlike any other ‘Evita’ I’ve ever seen,” Duckart said.
Other productions of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical that he’s been involved with, Duckart said, have mostly stayed true to the tone set by the 40-year-old original production.
Josh Rhodes, who is directing and choreographing the Asolo production, has discarded the original choreography and changed the focus of the show to concentrate more on characters and motivations. And much of what Duckart loves about the production involves elements that aren’t in the script.
“It’s kind of what goes on behind close doors,” Duckart said. “I don’t want to give anything away, but there are a lot of beautiful stage moments. They’re almost cinematic. I guarantee you that there are things that the audience will not expect.”
There are a lot of beautiful stage moments. They’re almost cinematic. I guarantee you that there are things that the audience will not expect.
It’s also an exceptionally sexy production of the musical.
“Everybody in the cast is absolutely gorgeous,” he said.
In addition to Duckart, the cast includes Puerto Rican recording artist Ana Isabelle as Evita and Justin Gregory Lopes as Che Guevara.
Besides all that, Duckart said, “The band is outrageous. They’re so good, man.”
The show, as most musical-theater lovers know, originated as a record album (as Webber and Rice’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” had), then moved to the London stage and then to Broadway in 1979. A film version with Madonna as Eva Peron came out in 1996.
The story focuses on the latter half of the short life of Eva Peron, the wife of Argentine president Juan Peron and a popular and powerful national leader in her own right. The show’s most famous song is her solo, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
Duckart has some personal reasons for being enamored with this particular production of “Evita.” He’s based in New York now, but he spent most of his life in Florida.
“When I started out acting in Miami, it was always a dream of mine to be able to work at Asolo,” he said.
“Evita” marks his Asolo debut.
Besides that, his parents, who still live in Miami, will be able to take the three-hour drive to see him.
“My parents were born in Argentina, and in the course of their activities they were able to meet Juan and Eva Peron,” he said. “To see me performing as Juan, to sing with the Argentinian flag draped across my chest, will be a moment of great pride for them.”
Details: Nov. 18-Dec 30, Mertz Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $17-$125. 941-351-8000, asolorep.org.