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London gets a sneak peek of upcoming High School Project production of ‘Evita’

Cast members from the High School Project's production of 'Evita' offered a sneak peek of their upcoming shows in September. Liny Lamberink/AM980

The singing voices of young performing artists rose from Victoria Park on Wednesday afternoon, offering a taste of the High School Project’s upcoming musical show.

Radiating an infectious enthusiasm, a group of theatrical high schoolers sang songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita — which they’re preparing to perform at the Grand Theatre in September.

“We’re very excited to finally share some of the work that we’ve been doing,” said Peter Nye. He plays the character Juan Peron, and is one of the 44 cast members, 18 crew members and five musicians at the forefront of the show.

He says they’ve been working on the show for three weeks so far.

“Expect a lot of energy, a really fun, different-styled musical than normally is seen around London. It’s very Latin-influenced… there’s a lot of tango in there, a lot of salsa. It’s just very upbeat and fun.”

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The musical’s lead character, Eva Peron, will be performed by five different actors cast by director Jan Alexandra Smith — one for each stage of Peron’s life, as she grows from a poor Argentinian girl to the wife of the president, worshipped by her people.

Now gearing up for its 21st production since it was created in 1998, Smith said the Grand Theatre’s High School Project program is one of its kind in the country.

“Everybody here auditioned to gain a role, and all of the students working to produce the show are mentored by professional staff at no cost to any student,” she told a crowd of around 50 people, gathered for the sneak peak at Victoria Park’s front gates.

With its $250,000 annual cost covered by sponsors, the High School Project mentors students aged 13 to 18 in on-stage talent, stage management, costume design and construction, prop design, technical production, photography and media.

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Evita begins on the Spriet Stage with previews on Sept. 19, and an opening night set for Sept. 22. It’ll run through until Sept. 30.

Tickets for this year’s production range from $34 to $40, or $25 for students 17 years or younger. They can be purchased at http://www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519 672 8800, or at the box office at 471 Richmond Street.

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