Las Vegas Academy’s ‘Aida’ powerfully uplifting

Despite the Romeo and Juliet ending and the somber theme of imperialist domination of an oppressed people, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida” as performed by the Las Vegas Academy Theatre will uplift your heart.

“Aida” is the grandest of all grand operas and this spectacular musical theater version with music by John and lyrics by Rice is based on a children’s book retelling of the story by that most famous of all Aidas, Leontyne Price.

The music is exuberant and eclectic, ranging from reggae to gospel, with stirring traditional Broadway ballads. The lyrics are sharply humorous and moving. The music was perfectly performed by the young singers and musicians of the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts.

The play’s action is cleverly framed by contemporary scenes at a museum.

Ja’Keetrius Woods is radiantly noble as the doomed Nubian princess enslaved by Egyptian plunderer Radames. Handsome Deylan Dean plays the Egyptian captain like a spoiled boy who is used to getting what he wants. When he falls in love with Aida, he thinks that he can make everything right simply by giving away all his loot (“Not Me”). In Woods’ movingly sung “Easy as Life,” her Aida knows she must give away her heart.

The two powerhouse singers can rock the theater rafters, but they also know how to convey more intimate moments and make a lovely romantic duo in “Enchantment Passing Through,” “Elaborate Lives” and “Written in the Stars.”

Radames is betrothed to marry Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. Nikole York blasts the humorous showstopper, “My Strongest Suit,” unashamedly proclaiming that she is all surface glamor. But as she befriends her new handmaid, Aida, and comes to learn of Radames’ betrayal, York grows to show there is something deeper to Amneris than her superficial glitter.

Radames’ father, Zoser, is conspiring to accelerate Radames’ ascension to the throne by poisoning Pharaoh (well-played by Samuel Garnett). David Wade’s Zoser is a slimy thug building his own empire. His “Another Pyramid” is well-sung with sinister undertones.

Aida is recognized by her fellow Nubian captive and Radames’ servant, Mereb, as his princess (“How I Know You”). Deimoni Brewington as Mereb is a natural comedian, but he’ll have you in tears when he sings this beautiful ballad.

Though sworn by Aida to silence, soon Mereb has rallied the Nubian captives around their princess, forcing Aida to choose between her people and her growing love for Radames. Carrington Peterson as Nehebka is a cast standout as she leads the show’s incredible chorus in the gospel-inspired “The Gods Love Nubia.” It was hard not to stand and shout in praise.

Meanwhile, Aida’s father, the Nubian king, Amonasro, has been captured by Radames’ troops, forcing Aida’s hand to rescue her father and king. In the small but pivotal role of Amonasro, Tariq James presents himself with a kingly severity.

Dance captains Cody Angelo, Terrell Armstrong, Jolie Cope and Elizabeth Cross lead the cast in Gary Kilmer’s ebullient choreography. The big production number, “Dance of the Robe,” was excitingly spontaneous.

The show’s minimalist design was enhanced by the elegant use of colorful banners and John Morris’ suggestive lighting design.

Though it’s entertainment, the play does not downplay the serious theme of suffering caused by national imperialism. It never preaches but effectively shows the degradation of human enslavement in the sorrow of a thwarted love and the beautiful sound of the united voices of the oppressed. The poignant ending leaves us with hope for a better world through the love of one young man and woman.

Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local astronomers host super blood wolf moon viewing
The Las Vegas Astronomical Society paired with the College of Southern Nevada to host a lunar eclipse viewing Sunday night. Known as the super blood wolf moon, the astronomical event won't occur for another 18 years. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @btesfaye
First former felon to work for Nevada Department of Corrections
After his father died, Michael Russell struggled for years with drug addiction. When he finally decided to change for good, he got sober and worked for years to help others. Now he is the first former felon to be hired by the Nevada Department of Corrections. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like