Mount Vernon Players presented a fascinating production of “Aida” School Edition on April 25. With simple but timely sets and an enthusiastic ensemble the Mount Vernon players created a memorable play. The cast’s energy in numbers and their exuberant facial expressions shine through to create a vivid story and make the musical come alive through the singing, the dancing and the acting.
The musical “Aida” was written as a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang and the music was written by Elton John with the lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical was produced by Walt Disney Theatrical and is often considered “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida.” “Aida” appeared on Broadway March 23, 2000 and ran until Sept. 5, 2004 which makes it the 35th longest running show on Broadway. The musical has also done multiple international productions and national tours. “Aida” was nominated for five Tony awards in 2000 and ended up winning four of them. The show also won multiple awards from the National Broadway Theatre Awards including Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Actor and Best Actress.
“Aida” is a difficult play to do especially for the mature content; however the cast at Mount Vernon High School's theater group managed to make the most of the play and really display talent for subtle facial and vocal expressions and deep emotional connections to the story. The Princess of Egypt Amneris (Leslie Gambini) displayed an impressive range in emotions from very narcissistic and egocentric to truly capturing the idea of betrayal and sadness mixed with her regret for what she has to do to Aida (Erin Hugee) and Radames (Christian Menendez). Aida’s (Erin Hugee) voice was beautiful, soaring above the music with control and poise much like the character she was playing.
The sets were simple but very usable and the cast put great use to all aspects of it. With a nod towards the setting of the story, the cast was able to use their sets to the greatest advantage as well as the admirably well-done props. The entire cast was able to keep staying on track of the sound system and continue to hold their music together with the prerecorded music which was praiseworthy due to the difficulty of the score and musical content.
The play had many great aspects the shone through including the props, the use of the set and the caliber of the acting and singing. The cast pulled off a very difficult play with grace and was able to make a somber love story be seen on stage.
Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving more than 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.