Saturday, July 23, 2016

Elton John's Aida Debuts at CLO

Kat Geersten, Kyle McClellan, Erik Hernandez, Zakiya Young & Ximone Rose in Musical Theatre Wichita’s Elton John;s Aida  Credit: Christopher Clark


A gripping tragedy of love that transcends all, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA follows a courageous Nubian princess as she is forced to choose between passion and allegiance.  This poignant musical features HAMILTON’s own Emmy Raver-Lampman as Aida and Broadway’s Mark Evans as Radames.

Plot Synopsis: Two strangers peruse a museum exhibit and are suddenly transported to Ancient Egypt where they meet as Aida, an enslaved Nubian princess, and Radames, an Egyptian soldier betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter. Radames and Aida’s forbidden love becomes a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

As their epic story draws to a close, our pair of strangers resume their visit to the museum where they find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. The unforgettable Grammy Award-winning score by Elton John and Tim Rice features soaring ballads including Billboard hit “Written in the Stars.”

ABOUT THE CAST

Kathryn Boswell (Amneris) is making her Pittsburgh CLO debut. Most recent credits: Gigi (Broadway, Kennedy Center), First Daughter Suite (Sundance Institute), Play it by Heart (Human Race Theatre Company) and Les Misérables (Music Theatre of Wichita). TV: High Maintenance (HBO).

Mark Evans (Radames) is also joining Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. U.S: The Fix - Signature Theatre, The Book Of Mormon - First National Tour (2014 Helen Hayes nom.). West End: Ghost The Musical, Wicked, High School Musical and Spamalot. U.K./Regional Tours: Oklahoma!, The Rocky Horror Show, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Cinderella. TV/Film: The Tower Of Silence, Dead Hungry, Lake Placid 3 and Eurovision Your Country Needs You. Workshops: Anastasia. Concert: Ultimate Broadway (Shanghai), Chess In Concert (Royal Albert Hall). Recording: “The Journey Home & The Journey Home Deluxe Edition” (solo albums). Author: Secrets Of Stage Success.

Zakiya Young and Andrew Samonsky  in Music Theatre Wichita;s Elton John;s Aida Credit: Christopher Clark  
Monteze Freeland (Amonasro) has worked with the Arena Players, The Pittsburgh Playhouse, Kuntu Rep (Radio Golf), Pittsburgh Playwrights (The Piano Lesson), City Theatre, Quantum Theatre (The Electric Baby) and many more in the Pittsburgh region. He is also the Artistic Director of The LAB Project. Freeland is a new member of Actors’ Equity.

Jeffrey Howell (Pharaoh) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after appearing in shows such as: Damn Yankees, Man of La Mancha, 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jekyll and Hyde, A Musical Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit), Beauty and the Beast, Bells are Ringing, Pajama Game and The Most Happy Fella.  He was also seen at the REP in Choir Boy and Souvenir. Other credits include Candide, Tigers Be Still, Chicago and Tribute to Lerner and Loewe with Marvin Hamlisch and the PSO.

Fred Inkley (Zoser) joins Pittsburgh CLO again after appearing in Les Misérables (Valjean).  Broadway: Les Misérables (Valjean), Annie (Drake, FDR, Bert Healy), The Addams Family (Lurch, Mal Beineke), Company, Lincoln Center (Vocal Minority), A Tale of Two Cities (Stryver), The Boys from Syracuse (Sergeant),The Nutty Professor (Murray and Maury) and Birdland. Tour: The Little Mermaid (King Triton), Beauty and the Beast (Beast) and Les Misérables (Valjean). Regional: Ever After (Auguste), Paper Mill Playhouse, Les Misérables (Valjean), North Shore Music Theater, Pittsburgh CLO, Jekyll and Hyde (Jekyll, Hyde), Ritz Theater, Boston Pops Guest Artist. He is a member of Actors’ Equity. 

Emmy Raver-Lampman (Aida) appears with Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Broadway credits include: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast), A Night With Janis Joplin (Original Broadway Cast), Jekyll & Hyde and Hair. National Tour: Wicked (Elphaba standby). Other Favorites: The SpongeBob Musical (Pre-Broadway Chicago Production), Children of Eden (APAC).  She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College.

Lamont Walker II (Mereb) is currently a senior at Point Park University pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre. Other Credits include: Bill Hanney's Theatre by the Sea's West Side Story and The Buddy Holly Story; A Lesson Before Dying (Jefferson) with Primestage, Choir Boy (AJ) with The Pittsburgh REP, Pittsburgh Playwrights, and others.

Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is complete with a talented ensemble, including Cameron Amandus, Christopher Campbell, Ryan Cavanaugh, Gerald Caesar, Ixchel Cuellar, Mike Greer, Mya’la Herrold,  Justin Lonesome, Carina-Kay Louchiey, Billy Mason, Mara Newbery, JJ Niemann, Emily Nies, Kate Margalite, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, Taylor Kellas Warren and Ross Yoder.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

Barry Ivan (Director & Choreographer) has directed numerous productions for Pittsburgh CLO including The Wedding Singer, Sunset Boulevard, Company, A Little Night Music, Footloose, The Full Monty, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Les Misérables. National and international credits range from directing at the German State Opera to directing at Yale. His productions of The Full Monty and Hairspray received IRNE awards for Best Musical and he received IRNE nominations as Best Director for Nine and Les Misérables. Mr. Ivan directed the US premiere of Dracula, A Chamber Musical and is slated to direct the world premiere of Jeff Stolzer’s comedy-drama Power Plays. Mr. Ivan is currently producing and developing multiple projects for the stage and television.

Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 21st season with Pittsburgh CLO. His theater credits include the Broadway productions of Souvenir, Les Misérables, Me and My Girl, CATS and Brigadoon. He has also contributed his talents to television programs such as Crazy For You and the Today Show. Mr. Helm has conducted at Radio City Music Hall, Paper Mill Playhouse and many other regional and national theaters.

HISTORY OF THE SHOW

With stirring music and an eloquent book, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA follows the same story of conflict and timeless love chronicled in the 19th century opera of the same name by Giuseppe Verdi.
The musical first astounded audiences with its Broadway premiere in March of 2000.  The production continued to inspire New York audiences until 2004 when it closed after nearly 2,000 performances.  
Following its Broadway run, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA hit the road with multiple National Tours, international productions and regional theater performances across the country.

It won four Tony Awards® including Best Original Score and a Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album. Contemporary musical legend and composer Elton John recorded the musical’s showstopper “Written in the Stars” with LeAnn Rimes, which topped the Billboard adult contemporary music charts.

ABOUT THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE TEAM

Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang (Book) wrote the book for Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA. The creative team collaborated in the midst of successful individual careers.  Woolverton’s notable credits include script-writing for Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast, which received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Picture.  She also co-wrote the script for Disney’s The Lion King and Homeword Bound: The Incredible Journey.   

Robert Falls is a Broadway director and writer whose work includes Death of a Salesman, The Speed of Darkness and Chinglish, among many others.  Falls has won the Tony Regional Theatre Award and a Tony for Best Direction for Death of a Salesman. David Henry Hwang is a critically acclaimed playwright and opera librettist best known for writing M. Butterfly, for which he won a Tony Award®, Drama Desk™ Award and Outer Critics Circle™ Award. Other notable credits include Disney’s Tarzan, Golden Child, Yellow Face, Chinglish, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, An American Soldier and Dream of the Red Chamber.

Elton John (Music) is the musical genius behind Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA, among many of today’s contemporary classics and biggest hits.  He has earned 38 gold and 27 platinum or multi-platinum albums, sold more than 250 million records and holds the record for largest selling single of all time. He has toured the world since 1969 with the Elton John band. John’s compositions for 1994 Disney animation film The Lion King won an Academy Award® for Best Original Song.  In 1998, he composed for The Lion King on Broadway which won six Tonys. In 2000 he won the Tony Award® for Best Original Score for AIDA. John also wrote for Billy Elliot the Musical, which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best Musical.  Additionally, John has earned five Grammy® Awards.

Tim Rice (Lyrics) is one of the most accomplished lyricists and librettists of today.  His work spans multiple genres, decades and has been recognized with a myriad of awards.  His collaborative work with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Jesus Christ Superstar earned him international fame as well as a Tony nomination for Best Original Score. 

The pair again achieved greatness with Broadway hit Evita which won a Tony Award® for Best Book of a Musical. In 1982, Rice’s contributions to Broadway sensation Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat garnered Tony nominations for Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. Following Joseph, Rice lent his talents to Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. Subsequently, he worked on Blondel and Chess. 

Rice collaborated with Elton John for the Disney movie and later stage adaptation of The Lion King. He also wrote for the Disney animated film Aladdin, which also appeared on Broadway and earned a Tony nomination for Best Original Score. Additionally, Rice has won three Academy Awards®, three Golden Globes® and a Grammy®.

Performance Schedule for Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA

Tuesday, July 26 8 p.m.
Wednesday, July 27 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 28 8 p.m.
Friday, July 29 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 30  2 p.m. and  8 p.m.
Sunday, July 312 p.m. and 7 p.m.

TICKETS

Tickets are available online at pittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Tickets start at $25. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call our Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information. Visit pittsburghCLO.org for further information.


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