Written By: Jess Mocci
From the moment I first laid eyes on the set of Aida I knew it was going to be a fantastic show.
Here’s a little background on the plot:
Aida was set back in ancient Egypt in the capital city of Memphis. An Ethiopian princess, Aida, is held prisoner where she lies about her identity. Now she is a slave of Amneris, the Egyptian King’s daughter. An Egyptian General, Radames, is secretly in love with Aida and she shares the same love. This becomes a problem because Radames is engaged to Amneris.
I saw the peak performance on Sunday October 23rd at 2:00 pm in the L. Howard Fox Theatre; note this was their last performance. The production started with a map hanging in downstage center. When the map was lifted, a multi-leveled stage decorated in different colors of gold, blues and burgundy appeared. The show was simply breathtaking. From the props made by prop master Robert Dietze to resemble ancient Egypt (pots, moving columns, etc.) to the costumes made by designer Cheyenne Pelllicoro, it all really brought the show to life making you believe you were right in Egypt. The show was overall very well put together.
Now onto the acting,singing and dancing. Kristen Walz (Amneris), Ian Laudano (Radames), and Virginia Vass (Aida) were completely top notch. Vass put this underlying strength into Aida that made her into the beautiful character. Walz was hysterical but was serious when she needed too. She played Amneris as a diva who always spoke her opinion. But there was something about Vass and Laudano that seemed so real. The connection of Aida and Radames was very strong and passionate that you could really see the love they had for each other which was one of the best parts of the production. I won’t spoil the ending, but it really makes you want to cry!
The other supporting roles and ensemble were just as fantastic. Each harmony was completely on point and the cast kept a perfect tempo and pitch while performing “Gods Love Nubia” acapella. The only thing I would say needed some work was the choreography. As great as it was, some of the dancers were off some beats and some of the movements were not being done full out which was very obvious. I also lost some of the actors’ faces because they had their backs to the audience which was disappointing because facial expressions are everything to me.
Aida was casted perfectly and each person fit the role as they should have. After seeing Aida multiple times at different theaters, this was by far the best I have seen. It was straightforward and represented the roles that Elton John and Tim Rice had written. Overall I give the show a 4.85 out of 5!