Eva Perón was a controversial figure. After escaping the poverty of her youth, Maria Eva Duarte rose to fame as Argentina’s beloved first lady. Once in power with husband Juan Perón, she orchestrated a sympathetic relationship with her nation’s peasant classes while posing as an elegant world figure. Was Eva a corrupt and self-centered despot, or a saintly savior of her people?
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 musical Evita grapples with these historical issues. Its worldwide success — including a 1996 film starring Madonna — is well-documented. Now Franklin’s Studio Tenn Theatre Company makes some history of its own by joining with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center to open TPAC’s 2016-17 Broadway Series season with the Rice/Webber opus. This collaboration represents the first time in TPAC’s 34-year history that a local theater company has been accorded such an opportunity.