Thursday, July 24, 2008

Evita in Sacramento!

Eric singing "High Flying Adored":

(Photos from California Music Theater's Facebook page)

August 12 - August 17, 2008

Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion

From Playbill, 6-10-08
As previously announced, Saved's Julia Murney, whose Broadway credits include Wicked and Lennon, will play the title role in the Music Circus production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. Eric Kunze, seen in the national tour of Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, will play Che with Scott Blanks as Peron. Glenn Casale will direct the Tony-winning musical with choreography by John MacInnis and musical direction by Dennis Castellano.

From California Musical Theater:
Julia Murney, who starred on Broadway as Elphaba in "Wicked," will make her Music Circus debut as Eva Peron in "EVITA" August 12-17, 2008. She will be joined by Eric Kunze as Ché. Kunze, reprising his role at Music Circus from eight years ago, recently starred as The Man in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Whistle Down the Wind." A favorite with Music Circus audiences, his other credits include Joe Hardy in "Damn Yankees," Jesus in "Jesus Christ Superstar," Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and Joe Cable in "South Pacific." Juan Peron will be played by Scott Blanks, who performed the role in two different national tours. "Evita" will be directed by Glenn Casale with choreography by John MacInnis.

Here is a review from 2000 when Eric played the role of Che:
by Joe Blenkle/Sacramento Stage & Theatre
If you want a real treat, catch the Music Circus' production of EVITA, playing July 10-16 at the "new" Wells Fargo Pavilion. EVITA is the opening show of the 2000 season - the Circus' 50th under the tent downtown.
While Eva Peron (Natalie Toro) - Evita - is the object of this Tim Rice/Andrew lloyd Webber musical, it's Che (Eric Kunze) that stands out in this production. He just gets better and better every time we see him.
As the program says, "Che is at times a narrator, at times an observer, at times simply a device that enables the authors to place Eva in a situation where she is confronted with direct personal criticism." As such, Kunze gets a lot of stage time and has a lot of dialogue and singing - a real treat for the audience. His character is always in the middle of things, as Che does not look upon Eva the way the rest of Argentina does - trusting neither "Evita" or her supposedly kind and caring motives.
Kunze was fabulous in this role and returns to Sacramento after performing in several other notable roles the past few years, including Joseph in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (1998), Joe Hardy in DAMN YANKEES (1997), The Prince/Wolf in INTO THE WOODS (1997) and Jesus in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1996). Kunze has had some meaty Broadway roles, as well, performing as Marius in LES MISERABLES, Chris in MISS SAIGON and as Joe Hardy in DAMN YANKEES. Kunze has a fabulous speaking and singing voice - not to mention good looks - a fact not overlooked by the female audience members in Sacramento each time Kunze sets foot on the stage.

"Miss Saigon"
May 3 - May 18 (Preview April 29th) 2008
Redondo Beach Civic Light Opera
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Redondo Beach, CA 90278

From The Beach Reporter 4/23/08:

Check out these photos:

Review by Kent Stoddart:
Coltrin’s actors balance the high emotional peaks of the show with a coolness that tempers; passionate moments do not overstep the modesty of nature. The casting of the show incorporates veterans of Broadway and national touring companies. Jennifer Paz, Eric Kunze, Misty Cotton, Harrison White, Bonifacio Deoso Jr. and Kevin Bailey understand how to marry the emotional and intellectual demands of the book and score. From the principals to the ensemble, this is a top-notch company of players.

Review by Tom Fitt:
Eric Kunze is a believable Chris with a great voice.

Review by Steven Stanley:
Eric Kunze played Chris during the Broadway run, and one cannot imagine a more handsome and charismatic lead. Not only does Kunze have the voice and the looks and the acting chops, his boy next door quality immediately convinces the audience of his sincerity. His emotional “Why, God Why?” is heartbreaking.

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
June 12 - June 22, 2008

Reagle Players (Robinson Theater)
617 Lexington Street Waltham, MA 02452

A blogger's take on the show and Eric:

Taunton Gazette, June 13:
The one exception is Eric Kunze, who brings a raft of Broadway and touring experience to the role of Joseph. Not only can you hear every single one of his words, but he sings with real feeling and passion, particularly when he's thrown in Potiphar's jail, and he helps to center the show as the comic wildness spins around him.


In this production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, 19-year-old Brown will not have to stand alone before an audience of 30 million, as she did on "Idol." She plays opposite Eric Kunze (Joseph), who has starred on Broadway in "Les Miserables," "Miss Saigon," and "Damn Yankees." Eagle sums up his vocal ability in just two words: "It's exceptional."

See the April 7, 2008 Playbill:

"Miss Saigon"
July 21 - July 27

St. Louis Muny Opera (The Muny) Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63112
(314) 361-1900 x550
Tickets on sale now:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eric is Chris in Miss Saigon

So far, I've seen Eric in three shows: Whistle Down the Wind, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar. Each of the characters in these shows were diametrically opposite of the other. Now I can add another character to my growing list of Eric Kunze performances. His versatility amazes me. So complete was his inner transformation I actually didn't recognize him when he first entered the vast Muny stage. This is a difficult role to play on an emotional level. There are layers of anger, passion, tenderness, fear and regret. His every word, every action, every note was perfect. I know I may sound a little (or a lot) prejudiced, but I believe everyone in the the 11,000 seat theater must have realized it too. When he was on stage the hugeness of the area felt as intimate as a living room. My estimation of him increases with each visit.

The chemistry between Eric and Ma-Anne Dionisio is exquisite. She portrays the heartbreaking anguish of her character perfectly, evidenced by the muffled sobs around us. I loved the use of asian percussion instruments in the pit, as well as the scenic design and liberal use of red as a backdrop. This must be one of the few venues where an actual helicopter can be used for the evacuation scene. I could feel my heartrate increase as it hovered over us and shone spotlights across the stage and the audience.

For a complete trip report with more photos, see my blog at:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Miss Saigon at the Muny Opera in St. Louis

Review 7/22/08
From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Dionisio and Kunze are terrific as the touching young lovers. His voice is powerful and hers is lyrical. When they first embrace, it’s so tender that it makes you blush to watch. Their duet, "The Last Night of the World," may not make much sense lyrically, but its aching melodic arc speaks for itself.