BWW Interview: Ace Young Stars as Radames in AIDA at Axelrod Performing Arts Center
Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, Aida, directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado, tells the story of a love triangle between Aida, an enslaved Nubian Princess, Radames, an Egyptian Captain, and Amneris, an Egyptian Princess. Set in Ancient Egypt and Nubia, Radames meets Aida on one of his expeditions where her people are being captured because their countries are at war. He feels sorry for her and decides to give her an alternate punishment, and keep her under the watch of the Egyptian Palace. Aida doesn't tell the Egyptians she is a princess because she fears that their soldiers will kill her. Radames is set to marry Amneris, but unexpectedly falls in love with Aida and tries to protect her. Radames and Aida must determine where their true happiness lies, even if it means risking their own lives.
BroadwayWorld.com had the opportunity to interview American Idol star Ace Young, who plays Radames in Aida.
Ace is a man of many talents and has the credits to back them up. Even before his multiple #1 hits as a songwriter, Ace was wowing millions on TV shows like American Idol and Half & Half. His Grammy-nominated song "It's Not Over" gave way to his own BMI Pop Award and many other songwriting acclaims. Ace has starred on Broadway in Hair and Grease and toured the country in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. His next chapter of artistry has him sitting in the producer, writer, and artist's chairs, for his upcoming solo album. Ace is represented by Headline Talent Agency.
Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to be an actor?
Not really. As a child I always loved singing covers and writing my own songs. Music was something that could help everyone feel good. At the age of 11 I realized I had to relate to each song I sang as if it was my story. I was acting without knowing it! When I did this I would receive a genuine response from complete strangers. I could inspire them the same way these songs inspired me. I was hooked!
Who are some of the people who have inspired your career?
Jackie Wilson was the first singer that spoke to me. When I was 8 years old my dad took me to purchase my very first cd. After hours of listening to The Eagles, Beastie Boys, Billie Joel, Elton John, Tom Petty, Sting, Aretha, I walked up to my dad holding this cd.
My dad said, "This is the one? What is it about this album?"
I replied, "I feel like he's talking to me." I still listen to these amazing songs today.
How has the experience of performing in Aida been so far?
I'm having so much fun working in Aida at Axelrod Performing Arts Center! We have a huge cast and a Broadway size stage that we get to play on until the 16th of June. I am living my best life, singing this amazing score by Elton John and Tim Rice, with a extraordinary cast that is hungry to make every single thing on that stage matter. This show is going to be remembered.
What was your introduction to the musical Aida?
I was introduced as a spectator of the opera recording. My parents both sang opera when I was growing up so I never understood the words to Aida until Elton John and Tim Rice created their version. There are certain songs that always stick in my head. Written in the Stars, Like Father Like Son, Elaborate Lives, to name a few. I always heard great songs.
Tell us about your role as Radames in the show.
Radames is the captain of the Egyptian army. He is the action to whatever the Pharaoh wants to conquer. He is also first in line to marry the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris. Radames isn't against the idea of getting married...but he also isn't in a huge hurry. Why would he be when he has all the freedom the palace can offer as the Captain of their army? Little does he know that soon he will feel true love and humanity for the very first time.
What do you bring to the role of Radames that is different than those who have played him in the past?
I bring our Director/Choreographer Luis Salgado's vision and passion. This is a visual that has never been done before. Using thousands of dollars or lights in ways that Axelrod has never attempted until now. As a actor my job is to do what my director tells me to do. I feel that this Radames has a very honest and relatable character arc that the viewer will enjoy.
Do you have a favorite scene in the show? Favorite song?
I'm split between two!
1) Written in the Stars. The visuals that our team of actors creates is stunning, the song sticks in your head for weeks, and it is a key moment between Radames and Aida.
2) Like Father Like Son. Rock concert between two big energies with tons of powerful voices and visuals that keep you on the edge of your seat.
What would you like audiences to know about the show?
Aida is a show that your entire family will love! Come support your local Jersey girl Erin Maya as Amneris, this breakthrough role of Aida played by Anita Welch and enjoy a Broadway size cast right here in your hometown.
To keep up with Ace, you can follow him on Instagram @AceYoung, or Twitter @IAMACEYOUNG.
Tickets for Aida can be purchased by calling 732-531-9106 ex.14 or by visiting the Axelrod Performing Arts Center website at https://www.axelrodartscenter.com. The show will be performed in the Vogel Auditorium through June 16. The theatre is located at 100 Grant Avenue in Deal Park, NJ. For more information on Axelrod Performing Arts Center, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram @axelrodarts or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/axelrodarts/.