Throw your arms up – literally – for 'Evita'

Former Sun Devil returns to Gammage for Broadway musical tour

This holiday season, a classic is coming to ASU Gammage.

A story of one woman's rise to power, fortune and fame, the award-winning musical "Evita" is slated for afternoon and evening performances, Dec. 3-8.

Brought to life by the music of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Evita" is the incredible story of Eva Perón, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. 

Striking dualities characterized Perón's rise to power. Although she was a champion for the poor, she was prone to greed. A beautiful and charismatic figure, Perón led one of the most corrupt administrations in history with her husband, Argentine President Juan Perón. 

Eva Perón's captivating character and life, set to a beautiful musical score, is the magic behind the acclaimed Broadway show, now more than 35 years old. 

This year's stunning new production of "Evita" features former Sun Devil Krystina Alabado, a member of the show's ensemble who also was cast in the role of Juan Perón's mistress. 

"I am so happy to be playing this role," says Alabado, who will be returning to Gammage for her third Broadway tour. The tour marks the first time she will get to perform her own song on stage: "Another Suitcase in Another Hall." To snag the role, she had to audition nine times.  

"Auditioning is never really over, even when it's over," she says. "You get used to rejection. You develop a thick skin."

Alabado got her break five years ago while studying musical theater and acting in the School of Theatre and Film, in ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. During her second semester, she learned about an open call for the first national tour of what was then a new Broadway hit musical: "Spring Awakening." 

"My mom flew me to Boston for the audition," recalls Alabado, who says she never hesitated dropping everything to follow her dream. "It was my end goal. That was the best decision I ever made because I got my Broadway debut shortly thereafter."

The actress has been busy ever since, appearing in a number of roles on Broadway and starring in some off-Broadway acclaimed productions as well. She also appears as the fresh face in the most recent Neutrogena commercial for MTV. 

She says that although she was a newcomer to "Evita," her introduction to the show made the rehearsal process all the more exciting.

"I had never seen the show or knew much about it," she says. "I knew the famous songs, but I didn't have much of a relationship with the show, so it felt truly brand new to me. Going into something with no pre-knowledge made for a wonderful rehearsal/discovery process." 

No longer a Broadway rookie, Alabado immediately looks for ASU Gammage the moment she receives her tour schedule. 

"Gammage is where I found the passion and excitement to do this – it's where I grew up seeing shows with my family, so it is always the most exciting thing to come back to Arizona. I feel so taken care of and blessed to have Gammage and Arizona as my home."

To see Alabado perform in "Evita," Dec. 3-8, or to learn more about the show, visit the Gammage box office

And if you're looking to let your star quality shine, then go ahead and Evita yourself by throwing your arms up in the air like Evita did on the balcony of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires before thousands of people.

Don't worry – no one expects you to sing.