Michelle Aravena

January 2022 View more

Born for this I basically came out of the womb doing theater. I was already dancing at the age of 3; by 6 or 7 I was in a local production of South Pacific and I’ve never really done anything else since. I think there was maybe one time in my life where I thought I might want to train dolphins and whales for a living, but I found out you needed a lot of school to do that—so I decided to stick to the singing and dancing. I am what the business likes to call a lifer. It’s always been what I wanted to do, and I’ve never taken no for an answer. 

Role of a lifetime Evita is a show that touched me from a very young age, and I’ve spent my whole career wanting to play Eva Peron. I’ve been singing the score since I was 9 years old—in my bedroom, in my car. I did the show four times coming up: a couple of times in the kids’ chorus, a couple of times playing the mistress, and once as Eva in St. Louis. To be able to play a character like this is an amazing opportunity. Even growing up doing the show, there was so much that flew over my head at that age. But I remember not knowing whether I was supposed to like Eva or not—and I love playing roles like that. Andrew Lloyd Webber once said that when he was creating this musical, he wanted the audience to be inspired by Eva and want to follow her, but not to cry when she died in the end. And that is so interesting to me.  

Back in Chicagoland This will be my third show with Drury Lane. It’s a great company that respects the actors and puts up top-notch productions—you can always feel how hard they’re trying to live up to the reputation they’ve earned over the years in everything they do. Even from my first experience there, which was my last time doing Anita in West Side Story, it was just such a loving environment. I feel like a horse in the gate right now. This is my first show back in almost two years and I am counting down the days. I can’t wait! 

Photo courtesy Michelle Aravena