The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's most recent show, "Aida" was part comedy, part drama. The story is a modern version, created by Elton John and Tim Rice, of Verdi’s grand opera. The show's namesake is a Nubian princess who is captured and forced to serve as a slave in Egypt.
The woman's captor, Radames, quickly falls for her and Aida is torn between her newfound love and her loyalty to her people. The matter is further complicated by the fact that Radames is engaged to the pharaoh's daughter.
Mikayla Anne Reed plays Radames's finacee Amneris. She's a caricature of a spoiled princess. A Barbie-esqu sphinx who provides a welcomed element of comedic relief. She crocodile rocks her way through her first big number "My Strongest Suit." As the show goes on the audience watches as she maturs and by the end of the show her character shows unforeseen depth with songs like "I know the truth."
The pop musical pulls elements from gospel songs, "The gods love Nubia," and classic ballads, "Easy as life," giving the actors a chance to flex their musical prowess with the varying styles.
Aida, played by Angela Nichols Manlove, is the clear standout vocal talent in the production. Her rich voice provides the perfect blend of passion and strength for the role.
The Indianapolis Civic Theatre production uses silhouettes throughout the show for a dramatic effect. The scenes of action displayed in still life poses seemed like they could have been painted on an ancient Egyptian vase and work well with the story. The show brought history to life and few people have Elton John songs as the soundtrack to their history lessons.
The Indianapolis Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Rd. on the Marian College campus. Their next show "On Golden Pond" opens Nov. 2. For more information visit www.civictheatre.com or call (317) 923-4597.
Performances: "Aida'" closed Sept. 30, 2007.