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Monument native returns as touring performer in Evita

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Tripp Fountain couldn't find his jazz pants when he went to Evita auditions in Manhattan. So the hopeful 19-year-old wore a red T-shirt with writing across the chest, track pants that had been cut into shorts and blue dance shoes.

"That was the best thing I could find," he says. Given the handicap, the Monument native didn't expect a call back.

But after the first run-through on a dancing audition, Troika Entertainment invited him to stay and show off his pipes. Then, much to his surprise, they asked him to return for a second audition.

On that visit, Fountain who'd in the interim located the jazz pants secured a part in the ensemble.

As part of the ensemble, Fountain plays various smaller roles that protagonist Evita meets on her journey from peasant to wife of Argentinean dictator Juan Per'n. He also plays a part in the ever-present chorus. (For those unfamiliar with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-Award-winning, Latin-inspired musical, the story is told entirely through song.)

But don't expect a movie-like production. Fountain says although he appreciates the big movie sets because they fit Per'n's big character, the theater show focuses less on the sets and more on the story. Another difference he mentions: Cameron Leigh Wade sings in a higher key than Madonna, who played Evita in the movie version.

Fountain says he has no problem keeping up with the song or dance numbers designed by the original choreographer, Larry Fuller. He was involved in drama at Lewis-Palmer High School and honed his skills at the Colorado Jazz Dance Company and The Colorado Springs Conservatory.

The theater buff grew up on grand shows like Cats, Les Misrables, Grease and West Side Story at the Pikes Peak Center, and remembers waiting by the stage door after the shows to see the performers.

"Touring is what I've wanted to do for a long time," Fountain says. "Getting to play in my hometown makes it even better."

Evita
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Thursday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$50; call 520-7469 or visit pikespeakcenter.com.

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