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By Roz Rogoff

Aida Wows the Crowd

Uploaded: Mar 20, 2011

I saw a matinee of Aida the Musical this Sunday at St. Joan of Arc Church. I went because I told Margie Ryan, who choreographed the show, that I would. Margie is in the Arts Advisory Committee and she always contributes good ideas and comments to the group, so I wanted to see her work. It was outstanding (as much as I know about choreography).

I also wondered why a Catholic Church would choose Aida as a Teen show. The story is about a Nubian princess captured by Egyptians and kept as a slave. She falls in love with an Egyptian soldier and sacrifices herself for him in the end.

It sounds like a bummer, but the theme is full of ethical lessons like being true to yourself and upholding your responsibilities to others, which are noble values appropriately presented in a Church by a large cast of very capable teens.

Two of the leads, Radames and Amneris, are played by Cal High juniors Graham Harper and Kelly Iaquinta. Kim Santana, a senior from San Ramon Valley High School, played Aida. The rest of the large cast is from throughout the tri-valley.

In fact the young cast was so good it made me wonder why Glee wasn't cast with real high-school-age talent instead of professional performers in their twenties. I always felt that Doogie Howser MD was a successful TV show because Neil Patrick Harris really was 16 when he played the 16-year-old Doctor.

The auditorium, actually the basketball court, was completely filled. The audience was very attentive and appreciative, giving Kim Santana and the ensemble a standing ovation at the end.

Three more performances of Aida the Musical at St. Joan of Arc Church are scheduled for March 25, 26, and 27. Tickets are only $15 a person and seating is open. I recommend sitting in the center section opposite the band for the best view.