Playing Argentine First Lady Eva Perón is the hardest role Caroline Bowman has ever had.
The actress who stars in the Broadway on Tour production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Evita," playing at ASU Gammage through Dec. 8, says taking on the mantle worn by the likes of Patti LuPone and Madonna has been the "biggest challenge of her career."
"There's going to be a lot of comparison," says Bowman, who spent hours researching the life and motivation of Eva Perón.
"I'm me, and I'm going to be able to do the role how I do it. I'm trying to do my best to give integrity to who (Perón) was," she says.
The second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón, Eva, or Evita, was a charismatic figure who gained notoriety at a very young age and died tragically from cancer at age 33. Millions of people attended her funeral in 1952, and she is still considered a prominent figure in Argentina today.
Webber's rock opera tells the story of her rise from poverty to power. Although there has been much controvery over the accuracy of Webber's interpretation of her life and motivations, his production, including the famous song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," has become iconic.
Despite stretching Bowman artistically and physically (she's in almost every number and never stops moving), she says she's thrilled to play "Evita."
"People seem to love it. Every night people are on their feet right away. It's an incredible story, and Andrew Llyod Webber writes such beautiful music," Bowman says.
While the production is not overly long, clocking around 2 hours of stage time, Bowman says it's "super intense."
"There's a beautiful set," she says, "but most of the time it's a bare stage — Eva Perón's costumes could be a set piece in themselves. It's classical musical theatre. We have a beautiful piece of music and art. I think people are loving it."
IF YOU GO:
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Dec 3-6, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
Where: ASU Gammage, 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe.
Information: 480-965-3434 or ASUgammage.com