Here's a letter with information about a production of "Evita" at the Hale Hall Drama Center in Turtle Bay. It goes into rehearsals on March 8, the same day that tickets go on sale at the box office. Your press release should be dated March 6, earlier that same week. Make sure your Key Ideas do a thorough job of gleaning information embedded in Alix's letter.

Feb 23, 2014


Dear Folks,

No, I didn't get the part, but I'm still in show biz -- I might not be on stage, but I'll be in the Hale Hall Drama Center on the opening night of "Evita" -- as PR manager!

It's just as well. If I had gotten the role, I would have had to be in every rehearsal, beginning March 8. That kind of a time commitment would have just about ruined me for everything else this spring.

But as my "consolation prize," the Turtle Bay Theater Society asked if I'd like to do PR for the show, and said, Oh, by the way, there's $250 in the budget for "PR Services"... which is just what I need for airfare home at spring break!

Not only that, but since "Evita" opens April 15 and plays both that weekend and the next (Thurs., Fri. and Sat. night, with 2:30 matinees on both Sat. and Sun.) I would have been completely preoccupied during the very time that I should be studying for midterms. Ten performances (plus a preview on Wed. before opening) would have just about worn me out; with an 8:00 curtain time, it would be 11:00 before I'd be out of the dressing room and on my way home.

Another good thing: I've promised four couples I'd get them in to see "Evita" -- eight tickets = $80 that I've committed. I just found out that cast members are only entitled to two tickets, so that turned out to be an expensive commitment I made. However, as the PR person, I'm entitled to all the "promotional" tickets I ask for. So not only am I making my airfare -- I'm avoiding $80 in costs. In short, I'm damn lucky I didn't get the role I wanted!!!

By the way, you've heard me play the album, but I don't know if you know this is a musical based in real history -- about Eva Peron, the wife of the Argentine dictator. She was a two-bit actress in Argentina, making films and doing radio stints -- her enemies said she was a hustler on the side, even a prostitute -- and Juan Peron was pretty susceptible to a good-looking woman. Anyway, she caught his eye, then got involved with him, and then became Mrs. Peron. She was their version of Jackie Kennedy, I guess you'd say, or maybe Lady Di -- she became even more popular than he was, and ran all kinds of charities and public causes, sort of became the spirit of the "new Argentina" that Peron said he was trying to create.

She died of cancer in 1952, when she was still young. Hence the show's big song, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." I don't think you'd know any of the other songs, except maybe "A New Argentina." The composer (Andrew Lloyd Webber) and lyricist (Tim Rice) also wrote "Jesus Christ Superstar" and a few other big hits. Like "JCS", this is a "rock opera" rather than a traditional "musical" -- there are very few spoken lines, mostly all the dialog is set to music. It really needs a full orchestra, but we're making do with the Turtle Bay Chamber Ensemble. They usually play Bach so it will be interesting to see them play rock.

Laura Jennsen got the title role -- you saw her in last spring's show, "Candide," as Cunegonde. That was a singing role that called for an operatic voice, and she was up to the challenge. Now she'll be performing a rock score. You also met Harold Stein, you said he looked like a drug dealer? -- he (a) got a haircut, (b) quit the heavy metal band he sang with (Deadwood), (c) changed his major to physics(!) and (d) is playing "Che," the leading male role -- his first time ever on stage (though he was really popular on the club circuit around here). Jack Wedgewood is playing Peron, a good role but nothing like Che. The director was my drama teacher last semester -- you remember Prof. Dale Levensan?

By the way, if you need to reach me in a hurry again, you can now leave messages at the Hale Hall Drama Center box office -- 309-333-9900. Once tickets go on sale (next Tuesday) it's open for business every day but Sunday and Monday, 10am-9pm, and it's a lot more likely that I'll actually get my messages than if you call at the dorm.

Love, Alix