The musical Evita had its Broadway opening on the evening of Sept. 25, 1979 and a diva was born - 30-year-old Patti LuPone (and to some degree, Mandy Patinkin). Six months later, in the first week of April 1980, I had the good fortune of seeing the show. My favorite numbers were Rainbow High, Oh What a Circus and And the Money Kept Rolling In. Although I enjoyed it immensely, I found the show's final twenty minutes, when Evita is taken ill and dies, dragged. (I much preferred the earlier numbers that allowed for Patti's signature bellow and snarl!) And not long after the show opened the group Festival released its Disco Evita album which was wildly popular at clubs for much of 1980.
Evita would win the Tony for Best Musical and LuPone and Patinkin won for Lead Actress and Actor (twenty-eight years passed before Patti received her next Tony, for the role of Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy). The show ran until the end of June 1983. Some thirteen years later the long delayed movie version came out, starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. And in 2011 a Broadway revival of the show opened but, unfortunately, despite the drawing power of Ricky Martin, it proved to be a wan successor.