Hickory – The Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of Evita features a newcomer from Statesville. The classic, Tony Award-winning musical begins performances on June 10 and runs through June 20.

Jesse Ramirez of Statesville is making his HCT as Agustín Magaldi, the tango and milonga singer who brings young Eva Perón to Buenos Aires for the first time. Ramirez is originally from Greensboro and relocated to Statesville four years ago to become a zone administrator at Manheim Statesville. He is not new to theatre and has performed with several local companies since moving to the area. His roles include the Beast in Beauty and the Beast at Lincoln Theatre Guild, Injun Joe in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at The Green Room, and most recently as Michael in The Bridges of Madison County at the Newton Performing Arts Center. “I auditioned for Evita,” he said, “because I enjoy the music.”

Joining him on stage, in the role of Juan Perón’s mistress is another Statesville actor, Emma Theriot, who is returning to HCT for her second show. She made her debut there as Lisa in Mamma Mia. She has performed with other theatres in the area, starting at Statesville High School as Rusty in Footloose. Other roles include Camilla in In the Heights with Davidson Community Players and Nautica in Bring it On with Piedmont Players. When asked about returning to HCT she said, “I like that it is a really nice community with talented people.”

Argentina’s controversial First Lady is the subject of this dynamic musical masterpiece. Eva Perón, saint to the working-class, reviled by the aristocracy and mistrusted by the military, was destined to leave a fascinating political legacy unique in the 20th century. As a fifteen-year-old illegitimate child, Eva escaped her dirt-poor existence for the bright lights of Buenos Aires. Driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, she was a starlet at twenty-two, the president’s mistress at twenty-four, First Lady at twenty-seven, and dead at thirty-three. Told through a compelling score that fuses haunting chorales with exuberant Latin, pop, and jazz influences, Evita creates an arresting theatrical portrait as complex as the woman herself.

Performances of Evita are Thursdays through Saturdays, June 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 & 19 at 7:30 pm and Sundays, June 13 & 20 at 2:30 pm.

Tickets for all seats are $18 per person and may be purchased online at hickorytheatre.org or by calling the box office at 828-328-2283 between 12 pm and 5 pm, Wed–Fri. Seating is limited in compliance with the governor’s executive order, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. Per the executive order, patrons must wear face coverings at all times while in the building.

Evita is produced by Dr. George Clay III, DDS and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. A Cleaner World, Paramount Automotive, the City of Hickory, Sunbelt Xpress, and Dr. George Clay, DDS are the sponsors of the 2020–2021 Season. The Hickory Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

PHOTO: Emma Theriot and Jesse Ramirez are among the principal players in Evita, on stage June 10-20 at the Hickory Community Theatre. Photo by Lauren Albers.