"Aida" has it all: Romance and action, battle scenes and comedy, and music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.
No wonder its young cast is so enthusiastic about the musical, which opens May 12 at Community High School in West Chicago.
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If you goWhat: "Aida," written by Elton John and Tim Rice and staged by students at West Chicago's Community High School
When: 7:30 p.m. May 12-14
Where: Weyrauch Auditorium at Community High School, 326 Joliet St., West Chicago
Cost: $3 for students, $5 for adults; advance purchase at showtix4u.com or (866) 967-8167
"I think this show's going to blow the audience away," said cast member Anthony Soliven, who plays Zoser. "There is great acting, beautiful scenery. It'll take you through an emotional roller coaster."
Director Mark Begovich chose "Aida" for the spring musical because "it's a great story, first and foremost," but also a different type of show than the kids have done in the past.
"The excitement really comes from the music as well," Begovich said. "The cool thing is, you'll get that 'Crocodile Rock' feeling at times, but also these great, almost gospel, spiritual numbers and these amazing ballads the lovers will sing to one another. It really has everything."
And that includes, he added, a widespread appeal for audiences of all ages.
"High schoolers will identify with one aspect, young adults with other aspects, and the entire community, no matter what the age, with some of the serious issues, (such as) who do we love and love vs. duty, throughout."
"Aida" tells the story of a Nubian princess who is a slave to Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh. A romantic triangle emerges amid themes of loyalty, betrayal and forbidden love.
Cast as the four leads are Nadia Pelletier (Aida), Jeff Pierpoint (Radames), Emma Roberts (Amneris), and Nick Kmiecik (Mereb).
The creative staging includes an interweaving series of platforms that move even the actors on them. "It's a great concept to keep everything flowing," Begovich said.
The costumes are exciting, too, Begovich said.
"They're very colorful for many of the characters, and more contemporary than people would necessarily expect from a timeless love story," he said. "That's the feel and expectation of the show."
The show is directed by Begovich with Maggie Haas, along with set Director Chris Jensen and lights and sound by Jim Anderson. Ellen Fitzgerald, Josue "Manny" Munoz, Noah Strayve and Dan Stompor are production managers. The stage manager is Sarah Quealy.
"I love this show," said Emma Roberts, a senior. "It's fun, edgy and something everyone can relate do."