American Salon 0512 : Page 42

All About Eva Evita heads back to Broadway for the first time in more than three decades; of course, glamorous hair plays a big part in the production. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary musical Evita, which charts the rise and fall of Eva Perón, the young, charismatic and one-time first lady of Argentina, has tangoed its way back into Broadway’s spotlight. The production, loaded with star power—Grammy Award-winning pop artist Ricky Martin as Che Guevara and Olivier Award-winning Argentine breakout Elena Roger as Eva— is directed by Michael Grandage, who reworked the show, adding some dance choreography that lends a more Latin feel. One thing that hasn’t changed all that much is Eva, who continues to be glamour-personified. 42 American Salon May 2012 “I’ve always loved being able to chart the progress of Eva’s life journey through her hairstyles,” says Richard Mawbey, wig and hair designer for the Evita revival. “We begin with her short and dark as a 16-year-old girl and progress through golden blondes to the famous platinum that’s she’s known for.” For inspiration, Mawbey studied what working women looked like during the period. “I discovered that the rich and upper classes were very much influenced by fashions in New York City, London and Paris,” he says. “This gives a nice variety to the ensemble characters and creates the variety of looks you would expect in any international city in the 1940s.” A day in the life of Mawbey, whose lengthy list of Broadway credits includes Frost/Nixon and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, involves an early start, cutting and styling the wigs to get ready for a seemingly endless run of dress rehearsals. “I’m in constant discussion with Michael and the designer, Christopher Oram, about the looks we are trying to achieve and which hairstyles are working on our cast and which are not,” says Mawbey, who also spends a lot of time teaching this period of hairdressing to the resident team, which includes co-designer Sue Pedersen, and four great New York City hairdressers. “The main difference between Broadway PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD TERMINE

Stargazing

Kelley Donahue

All About Eva<br /> Evita heads back to Broadway for the first time in more than three decades; of course, glamorous hair plays a big part in the production.<br /> <br /> Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary musical Evita, which charts the rise and fall of Eva Perón, the young, charismatic and one-time first lady of Argentina, has tangoed its way back into Broadway’s spotlight. The production, loaded with star power—Grammy Award-winning pop artist Ricky Martin as Che Guevara and Olivier Award-winning Argentine breakout Elena Roger as Eva—is directed by Michael Grandage, who reworked the show, adding some dance choreography that lends a more Latin feel. One thing that hasn’t changed all that much is Eva, who continues to be glamour-personified. <br /> “I’ve always loved being able to chart the progress of Eva’s life journey through her hairstyles,” says Richard Mawbey, wig and hair designer for the Evita revival. “We begin with her short and dark as a 16-year-old girl and progress through golden blondes to the famous platinum that’s she’s known for.” For inspiration, Mawbey studied what working women looked like during the period. “I discovered that the rich and upper classes were very much influenced by fashions in New York City, London and Paris,” he says. “This gives a nice variety to the ensemble characters and creates the variety of looks you would expect in any international city in the 1940s.”<br /> A day in the life of Mawbey, whose lengthy list of Broadway credits includes Frost/Nixon and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, involves an early start, cutting and styling the wigs to get ready for a seemingly endless run of dress rehearsals. “I’m in constant discussion with Michael and the designer, Christopher Oram, about the looks we are trying to achieve and which hairstyles are working on our cast and which are not,” says Mawbey, who also spends a lot of time teaching this period of hairdressing to the resident team, which includes co-designer Sue Pedersen, and four great New York City hairdressers. “The main difference between Broadway shows and film or TV work is that you have more time to finesse your looks,” Mawbey says. “I make a wig for a film, off it goes and they use it for the shoot and it’s done. But with all the previews on a show like this, you have the chance to watch how the wig suits the character and how the hair behaves and moves, making adjustments until it’s perfect.”<br /> Suffice it to say that translates into a lot of hair that needs tending. Currently, there are more than 150 wigs in the show, and when you stop to consider that there are two actresses sharing the lead who each have two understudies, that equates to 24 wigs for Eva alone. For Mawbey, though, one of the most challenging parts of his job has involved transferring Eva’s look to Roger, whom he says is diminutive. “The size of the hairstyles had to be reduced considerably to suit her,” Mawbey says. “I also had to cope with the extra bulk of two radio mike transmitters, which these days are housed in the wigs so the audience no longer sees unsightly wires running down performers’ backs. It proved to be a bit of a nightmare because of Elena’s tiny head and Eva’s severe, unforgiving hairstyles.”<br /> Not surprisingly, one of Mawbey’s favorite scenes in the musical comes when the aristocracy of Buenos Aires is introduced to Eva, and he has the chance to show off some authentic 1940s hairdressing—a series of beautifully colored human hair wigs that instantly transform the actresses into glamour queens. “If there’s one thing I would hope people remember, it’s the production’s natural period look,” Mawbey says. “It’s not about ‘here comes the wig’—some shows are, but not this one. I just want people to think the stars have great hair and realize that it must have been wigs when they think about the show afterward.” ✂ —Kelley Donahue

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