A film adaptation of EVITA, Andrew Lloyd Webber
and Tim Rice
's 1979 Broadway smash, was in development for more than a decade. Everyone from Patti LuPone, who created the title role on Broadway, to Barbra Streisand
was a candidate. When it was revealed that Madonna
would play Argentine first lady Eva Duarte Peron, the ultimate Material Girl, it seemed, for a while, that musical movie magic might be made. Director Alan Parker's tumultuous 1996 film didn't quite raise La Ciccone to screen superstardom, but it did legitimize her as a singing actress. Utilizing deeper, more resonant tones and working hard to make every word understood, Madonna gives a strong, lyrical performance. She tears into "Buenos Aires" and "Rainbow High," gives a regal rendition of
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina," and strikes pure gold with the Oscar-winning "You Must Love Me," written specifically for her. A solid musical success,
the double-disc EVITA is an intriguing chapter in Madonna's fascinating career.