|Aida cast and crew shines|
|April 07, 2011 Lisa Betz Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen|
Friday night’s performance of Scottsbluff High School’s Aida was a thrilling, visceral, musical treat.
Producer/Director Brad Ronne is to be congratulated for having achieved a beautiful, cohesive story-telling adventure that included gigantic elements and a cast size that boggled the mind.
An excellent show always begins with inspired casting. Clearly, Ronne hit a homer with his leading actors. Meghan Pritchard nailed her role as Aida, the conflicted, enslaved princess and savior of her people, keeping the audience in awe of her vocal pyrotechnics.
Sam Harvey as Radames was manly and sensitive. His voice was smooth and warm and like the best chocolate, melted hearts with every song. Jessica Schluter, as Amneris, delighted the audience with her rich vocal tone and amazing range. Schluter’s comedic timing and charming characterization point to a powerhouse of talent waiting to be unleashed. Schluter made our hearts ache for Amneris’ bewildered, lonely existence. Nate Goodwin’s performance as Mereb was finely honed.
The evening’s break away performance was Nicholas Roussel’s Zoser. Assisted by visually stunning, yet completely functional costuming, Roussel mined every possibility in his Matrix-inspired robe, whipping it about to punctuate the threatening, dangerous power wielded over his Egyptian minions. Roussel inhabited every inch of his role, captivating us like a snake charmer.
Excellent support was provided by The Ministers, also costumed ala “The Matrix,” and made memorable with the help of Tiffany Tabor-Mackrill’s choreography. This audience member couldn’t get enough of the ensemble group of seven, Jake Aguallo, Michael Klein, Brandon Krichau, John Haslam, Manuel Perez, Michael Skiles and Jed Weis. Their mix of gymnastic feats and hip hop moves further provided an edgy, thumping sense of the dark underbelly of Egyptian politics ruled by Zoser.
While the Aida script contains solid roles for several leads and a huge choral ensemble to support them, it must be said that Ronne truly co-created the ensemble spirit among cast and crew.
From the acting, to the set and costumes, to the choreography and the orchestra, Aida was a pleasure to experience. Some sound and light cues seemed off at times but didn’t affect the overall success of a great production. Also impressive were the backstage crew and the front of house operations. Sharply dressed students greeted patrons, politely offering to help them find their seats.
It is a pleasure to see the art of theatre being treated with such respect. It is important to pass these traditions along to younger generations if the institution of theatre is to survive the modern world. Bravo Scottsbluff High!