World Premiere of Re-Imagined AIDA to be Presented in the Netherlands in April 2023

Gaia Aikman, April Darby and Naidjim Severina are set to star.

By: Oct. 31, 2022
World Premiere of Re-Imagined AIDA to be Presented in the Netherlands in April 2023
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AIDA, the musical by Elton John and Tim Rice has been reworked and updated, and the world premiere is set for 23 April 2023 in the AFAS Circustheater in Scheveningen. Stage Entertainment Nederland and Disney Theatrical Productions have announced hat Gaia Aikman (The Lion King, TINA - The Tina Turner Musical), April Darby (Sister Act, The Bodyguard) and Naidjim Severina (The Lion King, Kinky Boots) will play the lead roles in the production.

The updated version of AIDA differs in a number of respects from the version performed here from 2001 to 2003, which attracted 1.3 million visitors. It goes without saying that the iconic music and lyrics by Sir Elton John (The Lion King, Billy Elliot) and Tim Rice (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) have remained the same, but the creative team, led by director Schele Williams, has given the musical a contemporary feel without compromising its original quality.

AIDA is directed by Schele Williams, with choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie, sets and costumes from designer Bob Crowley, lighting by Natasha Katz and sound from Tony Gayle. The music team is led by Musical Supervisor Clement Ishmael, with vocal and co-incidental music arrangements from Michael McElroy, orchestrations from Jim Abbott, and dance arrangements and co-incidental music arrangement courtesy of Zane Mark.

Scriptwriter David Henry Hwang, also responsible for the original version of AIDA: "The classic tale of Aida has touched audiences across cultures and time. I'm thrilled to adapt the performance we created twenty years ago to the current era, so that the epic love story can speak even more powerfully to audiences today."

The show's producer Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions said, "Schele Williams, David Henry Hwang and the team have cracked the show open in new ways to bring the story into today's world while honoring what fans have cherished for 20 years: rich characters, gorgeous designs and those extraordinary songs."

Interestingly, director Schele Williams, was a member of the original Broadway cast of AIDA and has now received the opportunity to direct this updated version of the musical. She has extensively researched the historical period in which AIDA is set, and in doing so, made new discoveries about the background of the story which she has used as inspiration for the new work. For example, she focused on nationalism rather than race and she explored the extraordinary role of women in this period.

"One of the most fascinating things about the time in which AIDA is set, was that gender inequality was not an issue then. Pharaohs could be female too, among both the Egyptians and the Nubians. Women were also commanders of armies, and soldiers, and the best doctors in Egypt. Women held property and took it with them when they got married. It made me realise that in our fight for equal rights, we women actually need to get back what we already had then. As a mother, I think it's fantastic that I can tell my daughters and their friends about this, and that we must reclaim the position we always had."

The music in AIDA is some of the most iconic in the history of musicals. The collaboration between Elton John and Tim Rice, who were inspired by the 1871 opera of the same name by the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, resulted in a series of songs. Songs such as Written in the Stars, A Step Too Far, God Loves Nubia, and Easy as Life have remained just as beautiful and eloquent after translation into Dutch. When it first came out, AIDA was performed in 14 different languages in 20 countries, and is now on the bucket list of a whole new generation of musical lovers, who will be able to fall in love with it at the AFAS Circustheater in 2023.

Bob Crowley is to sign on with AIDA for the sumptuous and imposing sets and costumes. He designed the award-winning sets and costumes for Broadway musicals such as Tarzan, Mary Poppins and ALADDIN. His designs for the latter successful musical, which received eight Musical Awards earlier this year, can still be seen at the AFAS Circustheater Scheveningen.

Gaia Aikman is to play the role of Aida, April Darby will be Amneris, and Naidjim Severina will play Radames. Gaia Aikman: "I can finally say it out loud: I am Aida! Words cannot describe how happy I am to be playing this role! As a woman of colour, this role has always been high on my list. Soon I will be able to tell this iconic love story together with April and Naidjim. Because I previously shared the stage with April and Naidjim (in The Bodyguard and The Lion King) I am even more looking forward to this adventure. This is going to be something very special."

Stage Entertainment will announce the names of the actors playing Mereb (Radames' Nubian servant), Zoser (Radames' father and the top Egyptian minister), and Kandake (the warrior queen of Nubia) at a later date.

Stage Entertainment Nederland regards the world premiere of AIDA 2.0 as confirmation of the successful partnership between Stage Entertainment and Disney Theatrical Productions. Walter Drenth, managing director of Stage Entertainment Nederland: "Stage Entertainment Nederland is proud to be able to produce this newly revamped version of AIDA and to stage the world premiere in our own AFAS Circustheater Scheveningen."