November 4, 2010.By John Townsend, Lavender Magazine.

Through Nov. 14 Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington St., St. Paul (651) 224-4222 www.ordway.org

Theater Latte Da director Peter Rothstein and his astonishing lead actress, Zoe Pappas, ingeniously have navigated the paradoxes in this towering, political, music-drama classic. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice shape Eva Peron as a vindictive megalomaniac with rage toward upper-class arrogance. Ironically, once “Evita” and her husband, General Juan Peron (portrayed by the magnetic Kevin Leines), seize powe, they loot Argentina’s treasury in the name of “the people” and unions.

However, this numinous production elicits the humanity between the lyrics and within them. The ruthless language of political imaging and propaganda sears through Rice’s lyrics, realized viscerally through Denise Prosek’s music direction.

Jessica Frederickson devastates as The Mistress victimized by the Perons’ ambition. A fierce Jared Oxborough compels as narrator Che Guevara.

Michael Matthew Ferrell’s choreography, matched with Rich Hamson’s costumes, which cryptically dress the brilliant ensemble, create menacingly beautiful formations on Rick Polenek’s stately set. This breathtaking and hauntingly-majestic production vastly outdistances the Madonna film version.