Walt Whitman High School AidaBy Cappies • Nov 19th, 2007 • Category: Cappies
Mikayla Braun (Amneris), Aaron Mouton (Radames), and Andie Carroll (Aida) [Photo by Marcus De Paula] From the first powerful, rock-inspired chords of “Every Story Is A Love Story,” it is obvious that this isn’t the 19th century version of Aida.
Originally a classic opera, Elton John and Tim Rice applied their considerable talents to update the plot of Aida with today’s music, creating a captivating production. Set mainly in ancient Egypt, it tells the classic tale of love denied between Radames (Aaron Mouton), an Egyptian captain, and Aida (Andrea Carroll), a beautiful Nubian princess. When Aida is captured by Radames’ men, she poses as a slave to protect her father, the Nubian king. Radames and Aida are drawn to each other, even as Radames makes Aida a present to his fiancé, Amneris (Mikayla Braun), setting up a powerful love triangle among the three. Added to the mix is a plot by Radames’ father Zoser (Stephen Kent) to assassinate the king, bringing an undercurrent of tension to the musical. Radames and Aida’s love is fulfilled only as they die together, but it apparently transcends time, as their modern-day incarnations recognize each other in the final scene.
From opening curtain to final bows, Walt Whitman High School’s superb production of Aida enthralled the audience. Combining a strong ensemble, notable vocals and acting, Aida was a truly impressive experience.
Carroll’s portrayal of Aida was magnificent, showcasing her splendid voice combined with her extensive operatic training. As her love interest, Mouton gave a strong performance that capitalized on his acting skills. Braun was notable both for her vocals, and her transformation from a frivolous princess to a noble queen. Elliot Rosenbaum (Mereb) and Stephen Kent (Zoser) provided credible supporting performances, and the entire ensemble worked well, carrying the momentum throughout the story, with a particularly stirring rendition of “The Gods Love Nubia.”
The set was designed with an open feel, showcasing the backdrop as a color palette which the tech staff painted with various colored lights. Against this backdrop, the strategic use of silhouettes greatly enhanced the overall effect. The audience actually broke into applause at one scene in which the backdrop portrayed a night sky by utilizing hundreds of twinkling lights. Faced with a complex and varied score, the pit orchestra rose superbly to the challenge.
Striking, from both the visual effects and the powerful vocals, Walt Whitman High School’s Aida was a smashing success, transporting the audience into ancient Egypt on a quest for love.
by Danielle Stockton of Madeira
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