Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Aida"

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"Aida

Reviewed by Charles Walsh

AIDA Music By Elton John Book By Linda Woolverton And
Rice Robert Falls & Henry Hwang

Cast
(In Order of Appearance)
Amneris……………………………….Alaine Norcross
Radames……………………………..Matthew Phillips
Aida……………………………………Tina Ortiz
Mereb…………………………………Michael Kates
Zoser………………………………….Ahmad Maksoud
Pharaoh……………………………..Ben Sharton
Nehebka…………………………….Emily Gittes
Amonasro…………………………..Jeremy Schwartz

Ensemble
Dan Catomeris;Dana Catrambone; Jessica Dennett; Lisa Dibona; Sarah Frank; Skylar Grossman; Xander Jarowey; Liza Kaplansky; James T. Leak; Jenna Leavitt; Lauren Lietzke; Dan Lurie; Corinna Matlis; Aaron Maybury; Meridith McLaughlin; Elizabeth Mullen; Mary Naugler; Jessica Nurse; Chanee Park; Tes Primack; Blake Rosenbaum; Eliza Royer; Sarah Schlegel; Lisa Shames; Ben Sharton; Dasha Stekolshchikova; Holly Tarnower; Nicholas Van Niel; Gabby Vernon-Melzer; Ryan Vona; Allie Young; Anna Ziering

Orchestra
Conductor/Keyboards…………Rachel Ziering
Keyboards…Eric Ziering/Ben Bromfield/Ruby Biloskirka-Conley
Guitar……………………………..Drew Hannah
Bass Guitar………………………Ben Alfred
Drums…………………………….Yori Bard
Percussion……………………….Alison Hannah
French Horn…………………….Howard Boles
Violin……...Janet Linder/Christine Ahrens
Flute/Piccolo……………………Voula Collins
Cello………………………………Sarah Harney
Oboe/English Horn……………Megan Hughes
Viola………………………………Steven Cueves

Let me start this “review” of Aida, by stating I have never written a review of a show. But after having the privilege of sitting in the Newton North High School auditorium , yes I said a high school; I was utterly and completely mesmerized by this production. The sets, costumes, orchestra, tech, sound and THE CAST were superb! When I had heard that “kids” were going to attempt to put on a production of Aida I had serious reservations, having had the honor to have been cast as Zoser in a production of Aida last summer in Worcester. I knew just how difficult of an undertaking this show can be. This is probably one of the hardest shows to sing as any seasoned professional will attest to. So I got in my car and reluctantly drove to Newton. But to my surprise from the box office personnel, to the ushers this was a “professional” company. I waited with baited breath as the lights dimmed, and the first few notes from the orchestra began.

Now for anyone, who doesn’t know the story of Aida, suffice it to say it is a story of your typical love triangle with some very juicy twists added. Radames (Egyptian Warrior) captures Aida (Nubian Princess) and falls in love with her, while he is betrothed to Amneris (Daughter of Pharoh). That is all you need to know. As this IS musical theater.

Back to the first notes from the orchestra. The curtain rises on a museum, with hordes of people, students on a field trip mocking the teachers, security guards, and other various people. Suddenly one of the museum pieces (Statue of Amneris ) played stunningly by Alaine Norcross comes to life and sings the opening number the cutting edge “Every Story Is A Love Story” as Amneris leaves the scene, the stage transforms to an Egyptian ship and then Matthew Phillips (Radames) explodes onto the stage and sings the rock anthem “Fortune Favors The Brave.” As the song comes to an end we meet the young, dynamic Tina Ortiz (Aida). The interplay between Radames and Aida sets the tone for the rest of the play and they do it with style and grace. There is really not much time to establish a relationship between theses two characters but they do it admirably.

As the ships docks we meet the “villain” of the piece: Zoser, Radames’ father, who has devised a secret plot to dispose of Pharaoh, have Radames marry Amneris and thus take over Egypt. There, you have the sub-plot in a nut shell. Zoser, schemingly portrayed by Ahmad Maksoud, channeled every “Disney” villain you could think of Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmatians, to Queen Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. He attacks his songs “Another Pyramid” and in the second act “Like Father Like Son” with polished poised. Also at the docks we meet Mereb portrayed flawlessly by Michael Kates. His duet with Aida “How I Know You ” was heart stopping.

The show stopping “My Strongest Suit” performed with great style and panache’ by Ms Norcross, accompanied by the female ensemble “rocked” the house! It was a pleasure to have an actual orchestra accompany the performers on the stage. Kudos to the sound team I HEARD EVERY WORD.

I could go on, and on about this show. “Not Me” the heart-wrenching quartet sung by Radames, Aida, Amneris and Mereb. The mesmerizing on the edge of your seat Act One Finale, “The Gods Love Nubia” The electrifying choreograpy , But my advice to you is to call and get your seats NOW!, before word of this theater gem leaks out, and then there will be no seats available.

One more thing and I’m done. Special acknowledgment goes out to David Bloom, Executive Producer/ Director, Ass’t Director/Fight Master Jonathan Colby, Scenic Designer Jakob Palches, Tech Director Robert Smith, Lighting Designer Andrew Gerritsen, Costume Designer Rebecca Smith and Katy Whistler, Sound Designer/Publicity Mgr. Wilson Tennermann, Tech Assts. Max Diamond, Laura Nichols, Sean Paul andKat Jiang, Choreographer David Janett, Assistant Choreographer Abigail Weisman, Stg Mgr. Rebecca Smith, Ass’t Stg Mgr. Diana Raiselis. Last and absolutely not least all of the above names are young adults. The “oldster” of the lot is the director David Bloom 23 years Young! Theater is Alive and well in Newton .


"Aida" (23 - 30 July)
NEWTON NORTH HIGH SCHOOL
NEWTON MA
1(617)559-6443 -----


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