Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theater Review: AIDA in Concert

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:20


An absolutely gorgeous and accomplished production of the Disney pop-rock musical AIDA is taking the stage at the Walt Disney Theater at the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Encore! Productions, the team behind this mounting of the show, has really hit one out of the park! Now, to be honest, I might be a little biased here because I truly believe that AIDA is Disney’s ultimate stage show. With screen-to-stage adaptations of movies like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, and Aladdin, Disney Theatricals is a major force in modern musical theater. AIDA, which is set to an amazing score by Elton John and Tim Rice, is not based on a Disney movie. It is also much more adult-themed than Disney’s other theatrical outings. That could be a reason why the show, which although enjoyed a long and healthy Broadway run, has been usurped by most of Disney’s other musicals.

The backdrop of AIDA‘s story centers on the war raging between Egypt and the small African nation of Nubia. Using Nubia’s captured people as slaves, Egypt is slowly building an empire under the command of powerful military leader Radames, who is betrothed to Princess Amneris. On his latest mission, Radames captured one female prisoner who is definitely unlike the rest. Unbeknownst to him, this prisoner is Nubia’s Princess, Aida. Aida serves as a mirror to help Radames reflect on his future; and in the course of their growing relationship, they fall in love under increasingly tumultuous circumstances.

This production of the show is billed as AIDA: In Concert. And while the traditional aspects of a concert production of a musical remain in place (there is a large and full orchestra providing the music and a full choir to lend powerful backing vocals throughout the show), there is so much more here. The cast is fully costumed, there are minor yet impressive sets and well-thought aspects of staging, and the entire show is acted out rather than script-read. The overall effect is truly phenomenal.  The orchestrations are rich and lush, the backing choir is perfectly utilized, and all of the performers deliver truly knock-out performances. The main leads– Hannah Berry Matthews (Amneris), Natale Pirrotta (Radames), and UCF Alum Jerusha Cavazos (Aida) would all fit as perfect leads to any musical on Broadway.

And the more minor roles– played by Daniel Rye (Mereb) and Andrew Meidenbaurer (Zoser) are equally as impressive. This production of AIDA is truly spectacular! It could be translated from the stage at Doctor Phillips to NYC’s famed Lincoln Center and actually eclipse the quality of their recent concert version productions of TITANICRagtime, and Parade! The quality is just that good and comes at the tail-end of Orlando’s Broadway season. Interestingly, the quality of AIDA surpasses all of the shows that made its way to Orlando as part of this year’s series. It’s surprising the show will only stay in Orlando for just two days. Perhaps even more shocking, tickets for tomorrow’s performance remain available and can be purchased here: http://www.drphillipscenter.org/shows-and-events/Shows-Events/Theater/20791-encore-cast-performing-arts-aida.stml. GO SEE AIDA! You’ll be grateful you did!

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress