A slew of big-name actors including Antonio Banderas, Lea Michele and Enrique Iglesias were considered for replacement casting in the Broadway revival of “Evita.” However, no deals were reached, and producers announced last week that the production will close January 26 when the current leads, which include Ricky Martin, depart the show.
The New York Times reports that three theater executives, that spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Banderas, Iglesias, Marc Anthony and Raul Esparza were all considered to replace Martin in the lead role of Che. Lea Michele of “Glee” fame was the mentioned as a possibility for the title role of Eva Peron, as was stage actor Sierra Boggess. Peron currently is played by Elena Roger.
None of the news was confirmed by the show’s lead producers, Hal Luftig and Scott Sanders. The executives quoted by the Times were not directly involved with the show.
“The process of recasting is complicated and done in confidence between producers and stars and their representatives,” said spokeswoman Leslie Papa in a statement. “Public disclosure of private conversations or negotiations would be inappropriate.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed the music for “Evita,” is reported to have preferred Boggess for the role of Peron, and he also is said to have supported stage actor Ramin Karimloo as Che. However, Webber issued no comment on the matter.
The Times also reports that the revival of “Evita” cost around $13 million, and that the production has yet to recoup that investment. Producers said that they expect to recoup that money before the final show plays on January 26.
It is estimated that if the show had been recast, an additional $1 million would have been spent on “rehearsals, advertising, and other costs associated with new actors. Without a major star in the cast, the producers would have risked flat or even declining ticket sales.”