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Ricky Martin set to star in 2012 Broadway revival of 'Evita'

June 9, 2010 | 11:20 am

Martin It's been a high-profile year so far for pop star Ricky Martin. In March, the Puerto Rico-born singer officially came out of the closet as gay. The singer also is preparing for a tour that is scheduled to launch this fall.

Now comes word that Martin will be starring in a 2012 Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Evita." Tony-winning producer Hal Luftig said in a phone interview from New York that Martin will play the role of Che in the Donmar Warehouse's production, with Elena Roger in the title role, which she played in London in 2006.

Michael Grandage will once again direct the production, and Rob Ashford will return as choreographer.

"Ricky was at the top of our wish list and we sort of went after him," said Luftig. "Grandage met with him -- and he's not easily impressed." He added that the role of Che requires a good deal of showmanship and "Ricky is the perfect showman. He knows how to win over an audience. And fortunately for us, he has always loved theater."

Luftig, who is producing along with Scott Sanders, said no concrete opening day has been set, but he hopes to begin rehearsals in January 2012 with an opening some time the following April.

Luftig added that he is committed to making a "true Latino production," with Latino actors performing the major roles. Roger, who is from Argentina, made her English language debut in the London staging of "Evita," earning an Olivier Award nomination. Casting for the character of Juan Perón is currently underway.

Unlike the recent bilingual revival of "West Side Story," the production of "Evita" will be in English.

Martin, whose most famous singles include "She Bangs" and "Livin' La Vida Loca," previously worked on Broadway in "Les Miserables," playing the role of Marius.

"Evita" was first produced on Broadway in 1979, with Patti LuPone in the title role and Mandy Patinkin in the role of Che. The musical won seven Tony Awards, including the award for best musical that season.

-- David Ng

Photo: Ricky Martin. Credit: Larry Busacca / Getty Images