Oh What a Circus

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"Oh What a Circus" is a song from the 1976 musical Evita, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The song is the first song after the introductory "Requiem for Evita" from the musical, as Ché (the narrator) critically ponders the life of Eva Perón and the reaction to her death, finally coming to the conclusion "She did nothing for years."

The song shares its tune with the better known "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from the same show, but has a faster tempo and completely different lyrics. The song includes a choral chant in Latin, based on the Catholic anthem "Salve Regina". Alternative lyrics to "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" appear as a prelude to the song from Act 2, sung either by a young girl who resembles the character Eva, or Eva herself via voice-over, as in the film.

David Essex, who starred as Ché in the London stage production of the show,[1] recorded a hit version of the song, reaching no. 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1978.[2] This version was arranged and produced by Mike Batt, in the style of Phil Spector. The video for the song was filmed at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol.

Mandy Patinkin played Ché for the American premiere production and recording, and sings the song. Subsequent performers include Colm Wilkinson, Nicholas Rodriguez, Raul Esparza (no recording), Marti Pellow[3] and, for the 2012 Broadway season, Ricky Martin.

In the 1996 film Evita the song is sung by Antonio Banderas and Madonna. In the film, Ché muses while in an empty bar following the lavish funeral procession for Eva Perón, and then on the streets of Buenos Aires as the community mourns and later riots. Eva's lyrics come during a pan over her funeral casket and is not sung directly by Eva.

Hank Marvin performed an instrumental version of the song on his 1997 album Hank Marvin and the Shadows Play the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.


  1. ^ "Eva Peron, Superstar" by Frank Rich for Time, 21 August 1978
  2. ^ Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, 7th Edition
  3. ^ The Lowery Art & Entertainment - Evita