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posted: 4/30/2014 2:58 PM

Maine West to stage Elton John-Tim Rice musical 'Aida'

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  • Elizabeth Stenholt, center in red shirt, rehearses with the ensemble for the upcoming production of "Aida."

    Elizabeth Stenholt, center in red shirt, rehearses with the ensemble for the upcoming production of "Aida."
    Courtesy of District 207

Submitted by District 207

Maine West High School will be one of the first high schools in Illinois to stage the Elton John and Tim Rice musical "Aida," when the show runs May 2-4 at the school, 1755 S. Wolf Road, in Des Plaines.

John wrote the music and Rice the lyrics for "Aida," which enjoyed a four-year Broadway run and earned five Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical Score, in 2000. The show features musical influences ranging from pop and rock to African, Middle Eastern and Indian.

"Aida" opens in the Egyptian wing of a modern museum, where a man and woman touring the exhibit catch each other's eyes. A statue comes to life and transports them to ancient Egypt, where he becomes an Egyptian army captain and she is a Nubian woman who fights bravely before being captured by one of his soldiers.

The army captain, Radames, soon falls in love with Aida and spares her the fate of hard labor that befalls her fellow Nubians. Instead, he makes her a handmaiden to the Egyptian princess Amneris, his bride to be. This sets the stage for a classic love triangle and a story of forbidden love, as Aida eventually faces an agonizing choice between loyalty to her people and the love of Radames.

The role of Aida at Maine West is played by Elizabeth Stenholt, who has played leading roles in West's productions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Radium Girls." Radames is played by Ben Mueller.

Fine Arts teacher Carla Skiba is directing "Aida." Technical direction is by Chris Jensen. Director of Bands Bernie Gerstmayr is directing the pit orchestra. Vocal direction is by Benan Avci. The Maine West Fine Arts Department Chairman, Pat Barnett, is the show's producer.

Presented by the Maine West Fine Arts Department and Boosters, "Aida" will have three performances -- 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday.

Tickets are $7-$10. They are available at the door, through the Fine Arts Office at (847) 803-5895 and online,