Singer/actor Ricky Martin has won over theatre critics with his Broadway bow in the revival of Evita, with one reviewer insisting the Latin superstar is "easily the best thing" about the revamped production.
The Livin' la Vida Loca hitmaker portrays Che Guevara in the musical, opposite Argentine actress Elena Roger, and the show has been receiving top reviews from reporters following its official opening at New York's Marquis Theatre on Thursday (05Apr12).
Steve Suskin from trade paper Variety writes, "Director Michael Grandage scores with a dynamic new Evita, graced by an impressive performance from Argentinean actress Elena Roger and the ticket-selling presence of recording star Ricky Martin, who acquits himself nicely if not remarkably."
The New York Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz, who gives Evita four out of five stars, claims Martin "gives an appealing performance" as Guevara, delivering his songs with "gusto", while the New York Post's reviewer fetes the sexy star as "a supernova of charisma", and David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter writes, "(Martin's) dramatic presence could be more aggressive, but Martin's Latin-pop vocals are a smooth fit for the role."
The Associated Press' Mark Kennedy adds, "He sings beautifully, dances gracefully, athletically climbs ladders, plays his role with a knowing sneer and elicits drools in his suspenders and tight white shirt. He even makes a mustache work. In fact, maybe it's time for Broadway to have a new rule: Put Ricky Martin in everything... Heck, put him in Mary Poppins and watch the roof really lift off."
However, some critics weren't quite so convinced by Martin's performance - Ben Brantley of The New York Times is full of praise for Roger, who he calls "a sensation", and the "sterling Michael Cerveris" as Juan Peron, but he feels they are supported by a "barely there" Martin.
Roger also received some criticism for her vocals, with a writer for the Bloomberg News commenting, "In her Broadway debut, Roger has plenty of the star quality Evita sings about. I worry how long her voice, a little brittle at the top, will hold up, even on a limited performance schedule."