Show History



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.


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.


  • 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.