Jessica Lynch thought she had been in her last high-school musical when “The Music Man” closed at Briarcliff High on March 10.
She played Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor’s daughter, who was fond of blurting out “Ye, Gods!” whenever the least bit frustrated.
But on April 26, Lynch steps into a huge role, as Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Archbishop Stepinac High School.
Director Frank Portanova opened the role for new auditions when his original Eva, Harrison junior Halle Mastroberardino, developed voice problems and was put on vocal rest. Stepinac, an all-boys Catholic school in White Plains, recruits girls from across the Lower Hudson Valley for its musicals.
Playing the mistress in “Evita” — the story of Argentine first lady Eva Peron and her rise to power alongside her husband, Juan — is Rye Brook’s Nicole Heney, who was Christine is Stepinac’s award-winning production of another Lloyd Webber show, “The Phantom of the Opera” last year.
Lynch, who had just one month between being cast and opening night, says the gift of playing a real-life figure is to be able to research her and “find her whole life journey,” adding that she is finding the saint and the sinner in the larger-than-life character made famous by Patti LuPone on Broadway.
“I think Eva manipulated Juan to a certain extent, but I think he didn’t really mind. He knew it helped him, so he went along with it, like they were co-workers,” Lynch says.
“It’s hard work, but it’s a lot of fun,” she says of the role, which finds her alongside Stepinac senior Anthony Macchiano (of Mount Vernon) as Juan, junior Chris Guzman (of White Plains) as the revolutionary-narrator Che and Brian McNally (Bronx) as tango singer Magaldi, the man who brings a young Eva to Buenos Aires.
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News: Jessica Lynch rehearses to play Eva Peron in “Evita” at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains.