All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Allisha Edwards, a student at Hayfield Secondary School , reviews Mount Vernon High School’s ‘Aida’as part of the Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

Far away in the sands of the Egypt there is held one tomb shared by two people and the secret history of their conflicted love.  Secret until now, as Mount Vernon High School unfolds for us the tragic yet beautiful tale of Aida.  The musical “Aida,” based on an opera of the same name, premiered on Broadway in March of 2000 at the palace theatre with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.  The dramatic musical was met with critical acclaim and the show ran on Broadway for a total of nearly two thousand performances.  The musical tells the tale of Aida; a Nubian princess captured and forced to be an Egyptian slave.  Egyptian prince Radames, who is engaged to princess Amneris, falls in love with Aida, and she with him; the tale of forbidden love unfolds unleashing conflict onto the land.

Erin Hugee played the title character, Aida, with great commitment and poise.  The mature manner in which Hugee carried herself and the calm, almost regal tone of her speaking voice maintained the royal air of Aida, even though enslaved.  Hugee also was in a majority of the scenes and maintained consistent energy in her acting and singing.  Her vocals never wavered, and with clear tone, pitch, and passion of singing Hugee soared in numbers such as “Easy as Life.”  Christian Menendez who also had a heavy load of scenes but was consistent in his commitment to each one played Radames.  Menendez sufficiently played the inner conflict of the character in numbers such as “Elaborate Lives.”  Leslie Gambini portrayed Amneris, and created a tangible arc for her characters growth throughout the show.  Gambini appropriately portrayed the role of the shallow princess in the beginning and expanded her characters depth until her emotions came to a climax in “I Know the Truth,” a song filled with disappointment and sadness, in which Gambini gave a truthful, emotional performance.

The set was simple, yet appropriately decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphics, stationary structure that had two levels and was provided a backdrop for the show; the light set allowed for the quick transition of scenes.  The lighting (Atkinson, Kellogg, Oliver) was well done, a full wash of the stage for scenes and a colorful but dim accent to dramatic songs and moments such as the sequence when a belly dancer (Lakesha Colquitt) performed and the changing colors of the lighting, along with its dimness, which shadowed the belly dancers face and mystified her movements.

The cast and crew as a whole sufficiently delivered the story of Aida and produced several emotionally-wrought scenes and numbers.  The Mount Vernon High School theatre department should be proud of the show they produced.