Evita is back on Broadway for the first time since its 1979 premiere, and to anchor this new production director Michael Grandage chose relatively unknown Argentine actress Elena Roger. As Eva Peron, Roger is making her Broadway debut in the show's title role and following in the footsteps of legendary actresses Patti LuPone, Elaine Paige and Madonna. Broadway.com caught up with Grandage to find out how Roger won the iconic role.
“When we met her it was very obvious,” Grandage said of Roger, who also starred in the show's West End run in 2006. "We met a lot of people the first time around, and the moment Elena came in, there was a completely different understanding of the role and an energy. Every single thing she brought in the room was different to anything we’d seen before, and that was the start of a wonderful journey.”
Roger earned an Olivier Award nomination for Evita and later won the award for her performance as Edith Piaf in Piaf. She also earned an additional nomination for Passion. Roger was also featured in the West End production of Boeing Boeing. Before the London run of Evita, she was an accomplished Argentine actress, having appeared in several shows in South America including Les Miserables, Saturday Night Fever, Jazz, Swing, Tap, Fiddler on the Roof and Nine.
Joining Roger in the revival currently playing at the Marquis Theatre are Broadway veterans Ricky Martin as Che and Michael Cerveris as Juan Peron. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita charts the rise and fall of Eva Peron, the one-time charismatic and glamorous young First Lady of Argentina. The musical includes songs such as “Buenos Aires,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”