Potomac Stages Broadway
Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Price range $25 - $90
Aida gives audiences a rousing good time. Enter into the spirit of the thing and you are guaranteed an evening filled with one knock-your-socks-off moment after another.
Storyline: The Egyptian army takes prisoners from neighboring Nubia including, unbeknownst to them, the princes Aida. The commander, betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter, falls in love with the slave girl and she with him. Love and jealousy, patriotism and treason, fate and even reincarnation play in a different telling than the classic opera.
Music by Elton John in his first written-for-the-stage outing means a pop-sound. Lyrics by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ, Superstar, Evita, Chess and parts of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast) means idiosyncratic anachronisms (for which I admit a weakness.) The story has been played with by a number of talents resulting in something that doesn’t follow the time honored rules but which gets the story moving along and allows strong performers to get you to care about the fate of the characters.
This is a visually stunning production from the show curtain to the final effect. The opening scene, in a modern museum, is striking enough with an Egyptian Eye motif on the back wall which opens in an eruption of flame. But then designer Bob Crowley hits you with billowing sails, reflected palms on the banks of the Nile, and underwater swimmers. And that is just the first ten minutes! Later you have an outrageous fashion show, a Pharaoh's throne room and a pyramid created by laser light.
There are weaknesses enough in the awkward script and the disappointing choreography to make some squirm, but they can’t stand in the way of an enthusiastic audience’s enjoying the latest spectacle musical on Broadway.