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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Greendale's Cast Shines in 'Aida'

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Elton John and Tim Rice's musical Aida receives a glossy staging this month in a solid production at Greendale Community Theatre.

Erica Brown summons depth in the title role of an Ethiopian princess who must serve as a slave in Egypt. James Jones brings towering emotional strength and soulful musicality to his role as Radames, the captain of the Egyptian army who falls in love with the princess.

Aida
desperately wants to be a sweeping love story, but John and Rice couldn't quite put it together. The ending is a little drawn out for contemporary musical theater; it would have seemed more natural in traditional opera, which the show is based on. But Brown and Jones overcome the material to provide some moments that feel very genuine.

A number of other performances also stand out, including the irresistible energy of Michael Stoddard in the role of Radames' father, Zoser. Stoddard's powerful physical form and emotional gravity feel very authentic in the role. Also making a notable appearance is Kat Geertsen as the Egyptian princess Amneris. Geertsen brings a diva's voice to an immaculate stage presence. Amneris is a diva who is having difficulty with her betrothed, so it's a good match for the production.

The production design includes great lighting, sumptuous costumes and a river of running water—a typically impressive visual presentation for Greendale Community Theatre.

Greendale Community Theatre's production of Aida runs through July 28 at Greendale High School Auditorium. For ticket reservations, call 414-423-2700 ext. 4193.