Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida
The triumphant love story between an Egyptian prince and a slave transcends warring nations and brings a country together.
Restrictions may apply for International Licensing.
Show Essentials
8
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

In the Egyptian Wing of a major museum, we find a group of contemporary museum-goers admiring artifacts of a time long ago. The crowd is gathered around the most mysterious of the objects; an ancient burial chamber. Soon, two of visitors, a very beautiful man and woman, begin to move toward the burial chamber as if they know of its secrets or as if they have seen it somewhere before. The man is Radames; the woman Aida. Their eyes meet as the powerful voice of Amneris explains that ("Every Story is a Love Story") leaving the stage empty, with the exception of the two lovers, allowing their tale to unfold.

Sails fly in as handsome Egyptian soldiers are discovered loading the riches and spoils of war onto the deck of their ship. They celebrate their courage, along with their captain, Radames, as they recognize that ("Fortune Favors the Brave"). Their celebration is interrupted by the entrance of the enchanting Princess Aida, and her handmaidens, as they are forced onto the ship. They have been captured as slaves. As Aida is put into shackles, she snatches a soldier's sword to challenge Radames. Radames, not knowing that she is a princess, recognizes something special in Aida. He begins to give into his feelings for her and under the guise of seeing her as potentially dangerous, Radames escorts Aida to his personal berth in the ship's lower quarters.

Radames removes the manacles from Aida and boastfully gives her instructions in her new role as his slave. Aida, once again demonstrating herself as a free-thinker, rejects Radames' perspective of war, reminding him that the Egyptians invaded her Nubian homeland robbing her people of their culture. Aida reveals a longing for her life of freedom as she contemplates her past, and the past of her people ("The Past is Another Land"). Soon, much to her dismay, Aida finds herself in Egypt as the ship docks and the slaves are unloaded.

Radames is greeted and congratulated on his bountiful return to Egypt by Mereb, his young servant, and Zoser, his father (who also happens to be the Chief Minister). Zoser, upon seeing the slave women, including Aida, suggests that they be sent to the deadly copper mines. Radames, recalling his feelings for Aida, has another idea. The women's deaths will be spared by using them in the harvest with a special assignment for Aida; she will be a gift for the Princess of Egypt, Amneris. As Mereb takes Aida to the Princess, Zoser is left to enlist Radames' help in his dark and evil plan. In ("Another Pyramid"), Zoser explains that the Pharaoh's serious illness will force Radames to marry Princess Amneris sooner than he had planned, making Radames the King of Egypt. Zoser leaves Radames, and conducts a meeting with the ministers of Egypt where he confesses his plan to poison the Pharaoh. In a dance sequence, at a climactic moment in the meeting, a traitor is suspected among the ministers. Zoser orders the traitor's death and finalizes his plan for the rise of Radames.

The beautiful Aida appears in the costume of a Palace Slave, as Mereb prepares her to meet the Princess. He admits to Aida that he recognizes her as the Nubian Princess. In ("How I Know You"), Mereb and Aida form a bond as she asks him to keep her secret. They both concede that if the Egyptians were to discover her real identity, she would be put to death. Mereb also informs Aida that the Princess Amneris is the betrothed of Radames.

We meet self-consumed Princess Amneris as she finishes her daily swim and beauty treatment, while complaining that her future husband has yet to visit her. To soften her mood, Mereb presents Aida to Amneris as a gift from Radames. At first, Amneris dismisses Aida as just another handmaiden, but Aida's quick thinking and regal manner, allows Amneris to reconsider. Aida cinches the deal when she offers to make new clothing for the Amneris, feeding her ego and placing her in close contact with the Princess. As Mereb leads Aida to the sewing room, Amneris confesses that clothing in her life is ("My Strongest Suit").

The Pharaoh's private banquet room is ablaze with activity. Radames, beginning to show his feelings for Aida, questions Mereb about the Nubian princess, just as Princess Amneris enters to greet him. To her horror, Aida, while serving the banquet, discovers that all of the Nubian slaves have heard of her arrival into Egypt. The Pharaoh, enters the banquet to announce that Ramades will never leave the soil of Egypt again, because in seven days, he will be wed to Princess Amneris. At the end of his announcement, the Pharaoh begins to cough up blood (Zoser's poison is beginning to take effect), which causes the banquet to quickly disband. Zoser, giddy with the progress of his plan, questions Radames about his apparent unhappiness with the announcement of the Pharaoh. Radames explains that what he loves most is journeying to new places ("Fortune Favors the Brave - Reprise") and that his marriage to Amneris will end his journeying forever. After his father leaves, Radames, in a tender moment of unspoken love, calls Aida from the shadows and they discuss the joy they both find in making new discoveries ("Enchantment Passing Through").

As Aida tends to Amneris in her dressing room, the two women discuss the demands of being a princess ("My Strongest Suit - Reprise"). Amneris is surprised to find how much her new slave understands of her plight as princess. They are interrupted by Radames who suggests that Amneris meet him in her bedchambers. After Amneris leaves to prepare for a night with her fiance, Radames reveals that he wanted Amneris out of the way so that he could question Aida about her past, in private. Just before Radames can confess his love to Aida, a furious Amneris (who has been waiting on her bed) enters and orders him to have a map made of her body so that he will "be more inclined to explore."

Mereb tries to convince Aida to claim her role as Princess and go to the Nubian slaves to give them hope. In ("The Dance of the Robe") Aida accepts her place, even through her own self-doubt, as the leader of her people.

Radames discovers Aida at the Nile's Edge washing linen. He offers to make her life easier by elevating her position at the palace. Staying true to her people, Aida refuses his offer, stating that she"can not continue to live in the comfort of the palace while my countrymen are dying." Aida's words have truly moved Radames; in fact, her love of her people has changed his values forever. Radames confesses his love for Aida to Mereb, while a confused Amneris sees this change in Radames as his deepening affection for her ("Not Me").

Amneris, overwhelmed by the change in Radames, asks Aida to speak to Radames for her. Aida is to apologize for Amneris' bad behavior in her bedchamber on the previous night. Aida tries to carry out the wishes of Amneris, denying her own feelings for Radames, but he interrupts Aida and confesses his love for her in ("Elaborate Lives"). War drums interrupt their embrace and a soldier enters to tell Radames that the Nubian King has been captured. His excitement about this development in the war against her country horrifies Aida, who cannot tell Radames that the King is her father. As the news of the King's capture spreads through the Nubian slave camp, Aida leads her people from despair by reminding them that ("The Gods Love Nubia").

Act Two

In ("A Step Too Far"), sung in soliloquy, Amneris wonders why Radames will not show her the attention she deserves; Radames confesses that his love for Aida could end his life as he now knows it; and Aida contemplates her love for Radames verses her love for her people.

Mereb bribes a prison guard so that Aida can spend some time with her recently captured father, King Amonasro. As the three create a plan to allow King Amonasro to escape from jail, they realize that the docks are heavily guarded by Radames' soldiers. Aida tells Mereb and King Amonasro that the soldiers will let them pass without a fight if she shows them the amulet that Radames gave her. When she reveals the amulet to Mereb and King Amonasro, she also reveals her true feelings for Radames. The outraged King commands Aida to "cut this man from your heart." She explains that changing her feelings for Radames is as ("Easy as Life").

Zoser, knowing how unhappy Amneris is with the way she has been treated by Radames, shows Amneris a giant map of the Nile, explaining the many conquests of the Egyptian army, and material gains, that have caused Radames to neglect her. Radames enters and asks Amneris to leave him alone with his father, which she regretfully does seeing this moment as yet another rejection. Zoser challenges Radames by telling him that he knows of his feelings for Aida, but that he must wait until after his wedding to have his little diversions. Radames admits that he cares nothing for the throne because he is not like the power-hungry Zoser. The argument between Zoser and Radames comes to a climax during ("Like Father, Like Son"). Radames rejects all ideas of the throne and of marrying Amneris causing Zoser and his ministers to plan Aida's death to rid him of any distraction.

Aida receives ("Radames' Letter"), in which he apologizes for his behavior and confesses his love. Mereb and the Nubians come to wish Aida well on her escape, planned for the following day, as guards storm the encampment searching for Aida. Before Aida can speak, Nehebka tells the guards that she is Aida and they drag her away in Aida's place. Aida is horrified, and realizes that she must go to Radames and tell him who she really is. Mereb fails to convince her to stay and lead her people to freedom ("How I Know You - Reprise").

Aida finds Radames as he walks the Nile. He tells her that he plans to call off the wedding, but Aida, realizing that his plan will jeopardize her father's escape, begs him to reconsider. Aida explains that she and Radames can never have a life together because it has been ("Written in the Stars"). Radames finally accepts that he and Aida can never be together. He tells her that, during his wedding, he will arrange for her safe passage to Nubia. As the lovers depart, Amneris emerges from the shadows. She has seen everything. As she is dressed by her four handmaidens for her wedding, she admits that she is not the true love of Radames in ("I Know the Truth").

The Royal Wedding is interrupted by the announcement that the Nubian King has escaped. Radames commands that "No one must reach the dock before I arrive there." And chaos ensues.

A small boat floats at the water's edge, tied to the dock by a heavy rope. Mereb, helps King Amonasro into the boat knowing that the Egyptians have sounded the alarm. Radames enters and accuses Aida of pretending to love him to arrange this escape with her father the King. Aida explains that she truly loves Radames, just as Zoser enters to stop the escape. A fight erupts in which Mereb is killed by Zoser and Radames, in a move to save Nubia, cuts the rope, allowing King Amonasro to be swept to away to his kingdom with the fast current of the Nile. Aida is left with Mereb's dead body in her arms as Radames comforts her.

Radames and Aida appear in chains before Amneris. Amneris begs Radames to reject Aida to save himself, but he confesses that Aida's "courage and her love for her people have put me to shame." The Pharaoh enters, announces that Zoser has been apprehended, and sentences Radames and Aida to death. Amneris convinces the Pharaoh to allow her to sentence Radames and Aida to "be buried beneath the sands of Egypt, on one tomb…together." Amneris runs off, unable to watch as Aida and Radames are led to their death. Aida and Radames contemplate their lives and how they are to leave this life ("Elaborate Lives - Reprise"). Once in the tomb, Aida and Radames promise to find each other if they have to "search for a hundred life times." ("Enchantment Passing Through - Reprise")

We return to our own time and the museum. Once again, the contemporary crowd gathers around various exhibits. The man and the woman circle the model of the tomb. They look up. Their eyes meet. The man and woman move towards each other as Amneris confirms that ("Every Story is a Love Story - Reprise").

 

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Ethnic Roles
Dance Requirements: Heavy

Character Breakdown

Amneris
A beautiful and materialistic Egyptian Princess who is the betrothed of Captain Radames. Daughter of the Pharaoh.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Radames
An Egyptian Captain and the son of Zoser. A strong, handsome, adventurous soldier who falls in love with Aida.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 28
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Aida
A beautiful, brave Nubian Princess who is loyal to her people but is torn between her heritage and love for an Egyptian Captain. Daughter of King Amonasro.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Mereb
A young Nubian slave and servant to Radames. He is faithful to his Nubian heritage and befriends Aida upon her arrival to Egypt.
Gender: male
Age: 16 to 21
Vocal range top: Bb5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Zoser
The manipulative and evil Chief Minister hungry for power. He attempts to poison the Pharaoh and is father to Radames.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range top: Ab5
Vocal range bottom: F4
Pharaoh
The Leader of Egypt and father to Amneris. An older, distinguished gentleman.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Nehebka
A Nubian slave who is friendly with Aida. She creates a robe for the Nubian Princess.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 35
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Amonasro
An honorable and peaceful man who is imprisoned by Egypt. The King of Nubia and father to Aida.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 55
Ensemble
Ministers, Soldiers, Egyptian Men, Palace Women, Nubians, Guards, Dancers
Full Song List
Aida: Strangers Like Me
Aida: Enchantment Passing Through (Reprise)
Aida: Every Story is a Love Story (Reprise)
Aida: Overture
Aida: Every Story is a Love Story
Aida: Fortune Favors the Brave
Aida: The Past is Another Land
Aida: Another Pyramid
Aida: How I Know You
Aida: My Strongest Suit
Aida: Enchantment Passing Through
Aida: My Strongest Suit (Reprise)
Aida: Dance of the Robe
Aida: Not me
Aida: Elaborate Lives
Aida: The Gods Love Nubia
Aida: A Step Too Far
Aida: Easy As Life
Aida: Like Father, Like Son
Aida: Radames' Letter
Aida: How I Know You (Reprise)
Aida: Written in the Stars
Aida: I Know the Truth
Aida: Elaborate Lives (Reprise)

Show History

Inspiration

Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida is based on Giuseppe Verdi's 1871 opera of the same name. The musical originated from a children's storybook version of Verdi's opera. The rights were acquired by Disney studios for a proposed animated feature film. Development on the film was shelved, however, and the source material evolved into the stage version. A first reading was presented to Disney executives on April 1, 1996. It took three years from conception to mount the first full-scale production in 1998.

Productions

Aida features music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang. The first version of Aida was originally titled Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida and had its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The production ran from September 16, 1998 to November 8, 1998. The Atlanta production featured Heather Headley as Aida, Hank Stratton as Radames, and Sherie Rene Scott as Amneris. A new, revised production opened on November 12, 1999 at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago and ran through January 9, 2000. Adam Pascal joined the cast as Radames for the Chicago run. The musical, now renamed as Aida, made its Broadway premiere at the Palace Theater on March 23, 2000 and closed on September 4th, 2004 after 30 previews and 1,852 performance. Aida also received a critically-acclaimed National Tour from 2001 to 2003.

Cultural Influence

  • The musical has been translated into 14 different languages, including Japanese, Croatian, and Hebrew.
  • The musical has had productions in over 20 countries worldwide.

Trivia

  • Celebrities like Deborah Cox, Toni Braxton, and Michelle Williams once played the title role of Aida during its original Broadway run.
  • In 1999, Elton John produced a concept album of Aida with such pop stars as Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls.
  • Aida's Broadway run ranks as #34 on the list of Broadway's longest runs.

Critical Reaction

"Aida is a helluva good time." -Entertainment Weekly

"Does Aida excite, warm, and touch the audiences who see it? Absolutely." -TalkingBroadway.com

Drama Desk Award

2000 - Best Actress in a Musical, Winner (Heather Headley)

Grammy Award

2000 - Musical Show Album, Winner (Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida)

Tony® Award

2000 - Best Original Score, Winner (Music by Elton John; Lyrics by Tim Rice)
2000 - Best Actress in a Musical, Winner (Heather Headley)
2000 - Best Scenic Design, Winner (Bob Crowley)
2000 - Best Lighting Design, Winner (Natasha Katz)
2000 - Best Costume Design, Nominee (Bob Crowley)

Billing

Requirements

Under the terms and conditions of your organisation’s Performance Agreement, the following credits must appear on all advertising (including websites) relating to the production. Credits must be reproduced faithfully in accordance with the following layout. No alterations or deletions can be permitted unless stated below.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

 

The (Licensee) (50% of title)
Production of
Elton John and Tim Rice's (33% of title)
AIDA ( 100% )
Music by
Lyrics by
Elton John (50% of title)
Tim Rice (50% of title)
 
Book by
Linda Woolverton (50% of title)
and
Robert Falls & David Henry Hwang (50% of title)
 
Originally Directed on Broadway by Robert Falls (40% of title)
 
Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (50% of Title)
 
You may NOT duplicate the Broadway logo or title
unless you have licensed it from MTI. Your credit and the authors credits
shall NOT be LESS than 50% of the size of the title, and the credit to Robert
Falls as director shall NOT be Less than 40% of the size of the title.You are
futher prohibited from copying or otherwise using any costume or character
designs, artwork or other intellectual property from the Broadway play.
*SIGNED RIDER MUST BE RETURNED WITH PRODUCTION CONTRACT IN ORDER TO PROCESS*
 
The billing to you must be in the form specified above, including the words “Production of” below your billing, which shall be visually contiguous with the title, all so that the audience is informed that you are the producer. Your billing shall be no less than 50% of the size of the logo or artwork title, as measured by the proportion of the average size of your name to the largest letter in the logo or artwork title. In no event may you duplicate the Broadway logo or title unless you separately license the Broadway logo.  If you do separately license the right to use the Broadway logo, then you shall duplicate such logo and billing credits exactly as provided, including the fonts.  
 
(For professional licensees):  If you elect not to purchase the Broadway logo, then you shall submit your logo or artwork title for approval by Disney prior to any public use thereof.  The size of the possessory credit to Elton John and Tim Rice above the title shall be no less than 33% of the logo or artwork title.  The size of credits below the title to the authors and to Disney Theatrical Productions shall be no less than 50% of the regular title, and if there is no regular title, then no less than 20% of the artwork or logo title.  The size of the credit to Robert Falls as the original director  shall be no less than 40% of the regular title, and if there is no regular title, then no less than 16% of the artwork or logo title, but in all events 80% of the size of the below the title credit to the authors and Disney Theatrical Productions.  Notwithstanding the provisions above, the credits to Disney Theatrical Productions and to Robert Falls shall only appear on the title page of the program.   You are further prohibited from copying or otherwise using any costume designs, character designs, artwork or other intellectual property from the Broadway play.  A sample of appropriate billing size and placement is attached hereto for your reference (without constituting a grant of rights in the Broadway logo).

Short Billing to be used for all Posters, Print Ad’s and Leaflets:

The (Licensee) (50% of title)
Production of
Elton John and Tim Rice's (33% of title)
AIDA ( 100% )
Music by
Lyrics by
Elton John (50% of title)
Tim Rice (50% of title)
 
Book by
Linda Woolverton (50% of title)
and
Robert Falls & David Henry Hwang (50% of title)

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate Video Licence to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your programme: ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORISED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase a separate Video Licence then you must print the following in your programme: The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK25
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 12
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 22

Production Resources

Resource
CUSTOMIZABLE SHOW POSTERS
FULL SCORE VOL. 1 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 2 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 3 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 4 OF 4
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
ORCHEXTRA
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSCORE+
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIDEO LICENSE
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
CELLO
DRUMS
ELECTRIC BASS
GUITAR
GUITAR 2
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
KEYBOARD 3
PERCUSSION
REED 1ALTO FLUTE , BIG BAMBOO FLUTE (F), BIG BAMBOO FLUTE (G), FLUTE , SMALL BAMBOO FLUTE
REED 2ENGLISH HORN , OBOE
VIOLA
VIOLIN

ALTERNATE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
ALT: BASS GUITAR
ALT: CELLO
ALT: DRUMS
ALT: FRENCH HORN
ALT: GUITAR
ALT: KEYBOARD 1
ALT: KEYBOARD 2
ALT: KEYBOARD 3
ALT: PC
ALT: PERCUSSION
ALT: REED 1 ALTO FLUTE , BIG BAMBOO FLUTE (F), BIG BAMBOO FLUTE (G), FLUTE , SMALL BAMBOO FLUTE
ALT: REED 2 ENGLISH HORN , OBOE