Tantallon Community Players AidaBy Laura & Mike Clark • May 28th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Tantallon Community Players
Harmony Hall Regional Center, Ft. Washington, MD
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Playing through June 7th
Reviewed May 23rd, 2009
Aida is the story of Aida, a Nubian princess, who is captured by Radames, an Egyptian army captain. The two fall in love, despite his engagement to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. Aida’s music was composed by by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang.
This production featured Rikki Howie in the title role. She was very believable in sharing Aida’s emotions, and her singing was top-notch. Scotty Beland as Radames seemed to struggle a bit with some of the songs, although that might have been equipment problems. His Radames at times appeared weak, such as his indecisiveness about his relationship with Amneris. Alayna Morton also soldiered on through microphone problems. Her Amneris was a bit too whiny, so that by the end of the show her decision of mercy was a bit of a surprise, since we didn’t really get the chance to see Amneris grow as events occurred.
The simple set (designed by director Charla Rowe) of a stairwell spanning the stage worked well, with only a few pieces being moved or arranged throughout the show. Costumes (Libby Dasbach, Shirley Weaver, Charla Rowe) were basic, appropriate, allowing the cast to easily dance and move (although some of the robes during “My Strongest Suit” slipped out of place too early). The orchestra, under the direction of Lisa Kay Morton, blended well and didn’t overpower the singers.
This production was hampered by technical problems throughout the evening. Most noticeable were issues with the microphones. Singers voices were frequently distorted as the levels were set incorrectly. Microphones would turn on and off randomly throughout songs. And the microphones were used during non-singing portions of the show, which really wasn’t needed, as the Harmony Hall Theater is not that large a space. Plus the actors’ voices sounded as if they were in a barrel, so when the mics were being used, it was difficult to understand what was being said. I could see several people in the audience straining to hear the actors. A few times crew member voices were heard from the back of the auditorium, which was distracting.
Overall, this was an enjoyable production. Hopefully the technical problems have all been worked out for the final two weekends of the run.
I have always been fascinated by anything about ancient Egypt — ankhas, artifacts, asps and Liz Taylors’s eye make-up in Cleopatra, (my nickmane in college was “Cleo”). After seeing the “king Tut” tomb exhibits at the National Gallery in the late 1970s, I began writing a musical, which I directed in TCP’s first show at Harmony Hall in 1988 (received with great acclaim if I do say so myself). My play opened with archeologist Carter’s 1922 discovery of the king Tut tomb and artifacts. As he wondered and marveled at Egypt’s advanced civilization across ancient milillenia — art, architecture, medicine, literature — my story line, as in the case of Aida, dissolved into ancient Egypt and the lives of king Tut and his contemporaries. Imagine my surprise when I first saw Elton John’s Aida at the Kennedy Center years later and its use of the same dramatic device! The similarities of the two plays were many and obvious. I was at once determined to direct Aida, biding my time until the play was released to community theaters. I’ve loved the music of verdi’s Aida since girlhood, and so was pleasantly surprised at the brilliant adaptation for modern tastes and the Broadway stage. I was mesmerized by Elton John’s rhythm patterns and his percussive genius, as well as by Tim Rice’s epic and often funny lyrics! To all this add the story’s contrast of privilege with oppression, rich with poor, slave with master, young with old, now with then, and dedicated commitment with hedonism. These themes are as relevant today as ever. And finally, don’t forget “…Every story is a love story.”
- Amneris: Alayna Morton
- Radames: Scotty Beland
- Aida: Richelle “Rikki” Howie
- Mereb: Kenneth L. Waters, Jr.
- Zoser: Steve Dasbach
- Pharaoh: Larry Carbaugh
- Nehebka: Paige Grayson
- Amonasro: Derris Banks
- Ensemble: Renee Banks, Amantha Battersby, Rachek Bias, Libby Dasbach, Ivan Davilla, Lissa Dickerson, Anthony Ferrell, Temple Fortson, David Griffith, Andrea Gerald, Valerie Holt, KJ Jacks, Emily Luense, Lester Renauld, Bradley Silvestro, Samantha Sison, David C. weaver, Shirley Weaver, Kirk A. Williams, Nora Zanger
- Director: Charla Rowe
- Producer: Larry Carbaugh
- Stage Manager: John Battersby, Jivon Lee Jackson
- Music Director: Lisa Kay Morton
- Choreographer: Richelle “Rikki” Howie
- Rehearsal Pianist: Mitch Morton
- Set Design: Charla Rowe
- Lighting design: Cheryl Fry
- Sound Design: Ronald Rowe
- Light and Sound operators: Harmony Hall Staff
- Costumes: Libby Dasbach, Shirley Weaver, Charla Rowe
- Publicity: Lisa Kay Morton
- Props: Charla Rowe, Larry Carbaugh
- Set Painting/Dressing: Larry Carbaugh, Marilyn Weaver
- Set Construction Foreman: Mark Holt
- Crew: George Roff, Larry Carbaugh, Jerry Caputo
- Piano: Mitch Morton, Joe Gems
- Reeds: Randy Dahlberg, Maureen Dahlberg
- Guitar: Rick Prealta
- French Horn: Deb Kline
- Cello: Josh Queen
- Percussion: Michael Davis
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/3838.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.