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Run extended for ‘Evita’ at Ordway — even before opening

What does a theater producer like? Selling tickets. What do they like more? Selling enough tickets to extend a run even before opening night.

Theatre Latté Da has the makings of the biggest hit during the company’s history with “Evita,” as the revolutionary musical just had its run extended for two weeks, now running from tonight through Nov. 14.

Producer and show director Peter Rothstein, to say the least, is excited about the sales, but he’s more excited about what audiences will see from the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical.

“We’ve wanted to do a piece that is more dance-based for a number of years,” Rothstein says.

Part of the appeal was to create a showcase for choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell. In the end, they reached into the traditional dance of Argentina, the tango, for inspiration.

The focus on dance will make for a unique version of the show, which — as Rothstein notes — has a script that is nearly bare of stage direction. “It’s like Shakespeare in that regard. I can count on one hand the number of stage directions in the show,” he says.

The focus on movement led the production down new alleys. “We’ve made a lot of bold decisions for the piece for costumes, set and lighting,” Rothstein says.

The cast features Zoe Pappas as Eva Peron, Jared Oxborough as Che, Kevin Leines as Juan Peron, Paul Coate as Augustin Magaldi and Jessica Fredrickson as The Mistress.

In the end, “this is a production that is more opera than musical. That thought has been liberating — we’ve found a lot we can do with that,” Rothstein says.

“Evita.” 7:30 tonight through Nov. 14 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ McKnight Theatre, 345 Washington Street N., St. Paul. Tickets are $19 to $39. For tickets, call 651-224-4222 or visit online.

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