Mexico 1981


Teatro Ferrocarrilero

Mexico 1981


Ga-Bí about EVITA &  Producer Bob Lerner



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Mister Lerner's was very ill at the time of rehearsals and got even
sicker later, so much that he had to travel to Houston, Texas USA right before the debut for his last treatments against the cancer that cut his life short, but did not finish with his strong will to live behind him one of the most important works of art on stage that anybody could have ever achieved. 


"Bob made sure to give us the best example of what love for good theatre production and professionalism can do in the life of serious actors and singers, those who with delight witnessed as an audience, or as players -like me-, one of the most spectacular and unique stage plays that México's scene has  witnessed.  Bob left us an example and a legacy of his love for the arts and sacrificed even his last moments of life, making sure that "Evita" would be his best achievement ever.  He got to accomplish this, right before he went to artists heaven"  One day I asked him why was he doing this instead of taking more care of himself and his health and he said:


- "Listen Ga-Bí, this is my life, and I want it to end just as I have planned it since I realized that I may leave this world earlier than I expected so, I'm going to make everything possible to leave behind me a school of theather lovers just like me, that continue my work on promoting good shows for the pleassure of the new generations, and give back at least a little to theather, from the many blessings that I have received from it"


His words changed my view of professionalism forever.  His last effort to best production quality, was to make us listen to the real Eva Duarte de Perón at the original "Casa Rosada speech"  when she was triunfantly elected as a presidents wife, and also, at her last speech -at the same location-, when she was completely invaded with cancer, just like Bob.  He wanted us to "feel" the real drama of this amazing first lady and her terrible tragedy, just as he was experiencing in real life, in a very conscious way that showed us, that he knew his turn to leave us was next.  


Sure enough, the Lord took him away from us soon after that, but it always made me think about him as I could not fail myself on my authenticity as an actress, singer and dancer and gave me not only big pride to belong to this elite, but made me understand how blessed I was for having known somebody so passionate to acomplish his enterprises with the most high espectations, and his effort for bettering up theater in México, and most of all, for following his dreams and fight for them with pride and dignity until the end.  My participation in this acclaimed "Opera Rock" was even richer by working by the side of Mister Harold Prince, who came directly from New York to direct us.  His assistant at that time, Miss Ruth Mitchell, trained me with the best of advise and tought me almost everything I know about performing and even though she was tough, cause she was a perfectionist in every thing she did, it didn't matter to me, on the contraire, her example built the foundation of my bases about performing and gave me the best acting lessons anyone could wish for.  I was not only blessed to be "the misstress" -a role any serious actress could wish for-, I was also one of the "people of Argentina" and got to see the play by each angle possible. This provided me with a lot of expertise to apply later in my artistic career.


About singing  "Otra maleta en otro lugar"  -"Another suitcase in another hall"- it was easy as a breeze and gave me a lot of satisfactions and a privileged place on the scene for serious acting in my country, for wich I'll always be grateful, even though I had already participated as Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" -My Bella Dama-  and "Godspel" -La Pandilla-,  nothing ever compared to the gigantic task of putting together "Evita", due to all the characteristics of the script and the need for at least 40 actors on stage, that transformed the Teatro Ferrocarrilero in a wondrous allegory of other times, when glamour and life at its best -and worst for the "descamisados"- were experienced in Argentina. the country that loved this woman with passionate adoration


Again, I want to thank God, Bob and life, for the marvelous privilege of having been the first latin american mistress in our spanish speaking continent, memories that forever blessed me and will follow me everywhere I go, with Bob's words reminding me always: Theather is my life, I want to give it back at least some in return before I go




Judith Chávez


* Mexico's Musical theater star

Mistress of Perón /Premier of Evita1981

(Pictured with Bob Lerner in Newspaper ESTO)




"Being Peron mistress for the Mexico's opening debut of "Evita" was my most eager desire as a singer and actress. It was a dream come true after exhausting auditions. I was chosen to perform in this acclaimed opera rock by theater producer Robert Warren Lerner, "Bob Lerner" for those who had the privilege of knowing him as I did" Ga-Bí

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When Evita opened at the Prince Edward Theater on 21 June 1978, the box office advance had exceeded $500,000. Elaine Paige won rave reviews, becoming a star over night and later receiving a SWET award -- as did the show. Evita received three 1977 / 1978 Ivor Novello awards for Don't Cry For Me Argentina: Most Performed Song, Best Song, and International Hit of the Year. The show won a 1978/1979 Novello for Best Musical. David Essex had a number 3 hit with "Oh What A Circus" arranged by Mike Batt.

The Broadway production opened on 25 September 1979 with Patti LuPone in the title role at the Broadway Theatre. (There had been discussion of Elaine Paige coming to the US, but nothing ever came of it.) Mandy Patinkin played Che, Bob Gunton was Peron, Jane Ohringer played Peron's Mistress, and Mark Syers was Magaldi. The show and cast won seven Tony Awards at the 8 June 1980 ceremony held at the Mark Hellinger, including Best Broadway Musical, Best Score of a Broadway Musical shared by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Tony for Best Book of a Broadway Musical for Tim. The show went on to play around the world in various places such as Madrid, Sydney, and Vienna. The Mexican production opened at the Teatro Ferrocarrilero on 22 June 1981, and ran for one and a half years.






Parks Productions Blue Unicorn Editorial & Ga-Bí

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