The cast of AIDA

Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA cast announced for Netherlands relaunch, set for West End?

Producers have announced the world premiere for the newly reworked and updated musical of Elton John and Tim Rice musical Aida.

The production will have its world premiere on 23 April 2023 at the AFAS Circustheater in Scheveningen in the Netherlands, produced by Stage Entertainment Nederland and Disney Theatrical Productions.

Aida will star Gaia Aikman (Disney’s The Lion King, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical) as Aida, April Darby (Sister Act, The Bodyguard) as Amneris, and Naidjim Severina (Disney’s The Lion King, Kinky Boots) as Radames. Further casting will be announced soon.

The show will be directed by Schele Williams, who was in the original Broadway cast of the show, and Bob Crowley (Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Aladdin) is to design the sets and costumes.

With music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, the Broadway show has been overhauled to give the musical a more contemporary feel without compromising its original quality. The story remains the same – the fateful story of two lovers belonging to feuding nations, torn between their conflicted loyalties to their countries and to each other. This love story is set against the backdrop of a nation immersed in nationalism that seeks to expand its empire by invading another country.

Elton John and Tim Rice were inspired by the 1871 opera by Verdi, and songs in the show include Written in the Stars, A Step Too Far, God Loves Nubia, and Easy as Life.

Gaia Aikman, who will play the role of Aida, said: “I can finally say it out loud: I am Aida! Words cannot describe how happy I am to be playing this role! As a woman of colour, this role has always been high on my list. Soon I will be able to tell this iconic love story together with April and Naidjim. Because I previously shared the stage with April and Naidjim (in The Bodyguard and The Lion King) I am even more looking forward to this adventure. This is going to be something very special.”

Scriptwriter David Henry Hwang, who is also responsible for the original version of AIDA, said in a press statement: “The classic tale of Aida has touched audiences across cultures and time. I’m thrilled to adapt the performance we created twenty years ago to the current era, so that the epic love story can speak even more powerfully to audiences today.”

Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions, said: “Schele Williams, David Henry Hwang and the team have cracked the show open in new ways to bring the story into today’s world while honoring what fans have cherished for 20 years: rich characters, gorgeous designs and those extraordinary songs.”

Director Schele Williams said: “One of the most fascinating things about the time in which AIDA is set, was that gender inequality was not an issue then. Pharaohs could be female too, among both the Egyptians and the Nubians. Women were also commanders of armies, and soldiers, and the best doctors in Egypt. Women held property and took it with them when they got married. It made me realise that in our fight for equal rights, we women actually need to get back what we already had then. As a mother, I think it’s fantastic that I can tell my daughters and their friends about this, and that we must reclaim the position we always had.”

Walter Drenth, Managing Director of Stage Entertainment Nederland, said: “Stage Entertainment Nederland is proud to be able to produce this newly revamped version of AIDA and to stage the world premiere in our own AFAS Circustheater Scheveningen.”

There’s still no news on whether this new version of AIDA will travel to London and the UK, but it looks promising.

More about AIDA tickets in London

📷 Main photo: The cast of AIDA

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