While the exact dates of the Chicago and New York productions of Disney's new musical, Aida, remain in question, the show's score is now in record stores. The all-star album, titled "Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida" was released March 23 on Rocket/Island Records.
Among the pop stars who have recorded the musical's 14 numbers are Sting, James Taylor, the Spice Girls, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, LeAnn Rimes and John himself. John and Rimes performed the Aida song "Written in the Stars" Jan. 10 on "The 25th Annual People's Choice Awards." The duet appears on the album and will be released as a single in the coming weeks.
The track listing for "Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida" is as follows:
"Another Pyramid," Sting
"How I Know You," James Taylor
"Written in the Stars," Elton John and LeAnn Rimes
"Enchantment Passing Through," Dru Hill
"My Strongest Suit," Spice Girls
"Easy as Life," Tina Turner
"I Know the Truth," Elton John and Janet Jackson
"Amneris' Letter," Shania Twain
"Like Father Like Son," Lenny Kravitz
"Not Me," Boyz II Men
"Elaborate Lives," Elton John
"A Step too Far," Elton John, Heather Headley and Sherie Scott
"The Gods Love Nubia," Kelly Price
"The Messenger," Elton John and Lulu
As for the stage production of Aida, Disney is actively considering bringing the musical to New York's Theatre in early 2000, confirmed producer Stewert F. Lane (March 5), who co-owns the Palace with the Nederlander Organization.
"Talks are currently underway," Lane told Playbill On-Line. The Palace is home to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, now in its fifth year. Disney's plan would involve its moving that musical to the Lunt-Fontanne, another Nederlander theatre. Titanic, the Lunt's present tenant, recently announced it would close on March 28. "I think with the rock nature of the material [in Aida], [Disney] thought the Palace more suitable with its second balcony, where it could sell cheaper tickets for younger audiences," said Lane.
The Nederlander Organization, speaking in the New York Times (Mar. 5), also affirmed that talks were indeed going forth with Disney.
The Nederlanders did not return calls for comment. However, executive vice-president Nick Scandalios told the Times that the organization was also considering booking the new revival of The Music Man or the new touring production of Evita into the Lunt for the fall.
Aida had a rocky debut at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Oct. 7, 1998, suffering mixed reviews and technical problems concerning its central set piece, a large pyramid. Following the play's Atlanta run, Disney dismissed the creative team, which included director Robert Jess Roth and set designer Stanley A. Meyer, replacing them with Robert Falls and Bob Crowley, respectively, as well as choreographer Wayne Cilento.
Both Roth and Meyer were veterans of the Beauty and the Beast . With the hiring of Falls and Crowley -- both highly respected artists -- Disney seems to be moving away from the family spectacle of Beauty in favor of the more successful, high-art formula of Julie Taymor's The Lion King.
Falls is not known for his work with musicals. Rather, he has made his reputation with grandly rethought stagings of classics such as Hamlet , Galileo , The Iceman Cometh , and the recent Death of a Salesman, which is due in New York this spring. Recently, he has mounted productions of new works, such as Horton Foote's The Young Man from Atlanta and Eric Bogosian's subUrbia.
Crowley, meanwhile, has been highly praised for the work in the musical theatre, which includes the designs for Carousel and The Capeman. Cilento is best known for his choreography of Tommy.
Heather Headley and Sherie Scott are expected to repeat their roles in the Chicago mounting. Rent's Adam Pascal has been offered the third lead role.