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'Evita' premieres with star-studded gala

Madonna: 'I feel like Cinderella'

December 15, 1996
Web posted at: 2:20 p.m. EST

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Director Alan Parker always knew Madonna was the perfect match to play Evita Peron. And as he arrived for the premiere of "Evita," Parker realized he wasn't the only one that felt that way.

Some 2,000 fans crowded in a bandstand near the Shrine Auditorium, where the film debuted Saturday. Teen-agers squealed with delight, adults were awed, and everyone was antsy to catch a glimpse of the pop diva. One banner read: "The Oscar goes to Madonna for 'Evita.'"


"Oh, what a circus. Oh, what a show," said the film's co-star Antonio Banderas, his slick-backed hair gleaming as a wide smile spread across his face.

Other celebs were psyched too. "I've been a Madonna fan ever since she first surfaced in those rubber bracelets and belly-baring outfits," said an enthusiastic Jennifer Tilly.

Eventually, the star arrived, gliding her way past the crowd in an elegant, scarlet Givenchy dress. "I feel like Cinderella," Madonna said amid the roar of the crowd. "I feel like it's totally surreal right now." movie icon (1.1 MB / 36 sec. Evita trailer QuickTime movie)


"Evita," which opens Christmas Day, is a screen opera about the life of Eva Peron, the daughter of a poor farmer who rose to power as the first lady of Argentina's President Juan Peron in the 1940s. To the working class, Evita is a saint; the elite view her as little better than a prostitute who wielded too much power.

The movie is woven around the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and includes no spoken dialogue. Lloyd Webber, on hand for Saturday's gala, said he would "say a prayer" in hopes the musical would be a hit. icon (128K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Those who were lucky enough to attend the premiere applauded Madonna and the others for their performances.

animal rights

Grace Jones, decked out in a violet headdress, simply sang out "Don't cry for me Argentina," the opera equivalent of two thumbs up. icon (64K/3 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Actress Glenn Close loved the film. "It's one of the great musicals. The music is just mind-boggling, very emotional, very beautiful. It's a wonderful coming together of the character and musical."

But not everyone was happy. Outside the auditorium, members of the animal rights group PETA, upset that Madonna wore a fur during the movie, angrily denounced the film.

"Evita stinks for wearing minks!" they chanted.


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