The show on June 15 will also mark the final performance of Simone, who is currently playing the title role in the Disney musical. From June 17-29, the role of Aida — created by Tony Award winner Heather Headley — will be played by Simone's standby, Saycon Sengbloh. Pascal's standby, Richard H. Blake, will portray Radames through June 29 as well. Felicia Finley is currently playing Amneris through that Sunday.
On June 30 Aida will boast three new leads when Toni Braxton, Will Chase and Mandy Gonzalez join the cast as, respectively, Aida, Radames and Amneris. Grammy Award winner Braxton made her Broadway debut as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Her many solo recordings include “Toni Braxton” and “Secrets.” Chase has starred on Broadway in The Full Monty, Aida, Rent and Miss Saigon. His regional credits include roles in Assassins, Mame, Electra, Son of Fire, You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow and Trask & Fenn. Gonzalez recently starred as Sarah in Dance of the Vampires, which ended its run at the Minskoff Theatre Jan. 25. She also won an Obie Award for her work in the Off- Broadway musical Eli's Comin'.
Adam Pascal made his theatrical debut as Roger in the original cast of Jonathan Larson's Rent. For that performance, he received Theatre World and Obie awards as well as Tony and Drama Desk nominations. A co- producer of the hit Off-Broadway play Fully Committed, Pascal's solo album is available on Sh-K-Boom Records.
Simone, the daughter of the late chanteuse Nina Simone and businessman Andrew Stroud, starred in the first national tour of Aida before joining the Broadway company. She made her theatrical debut in the national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and then starred as Mimi in the tour of Rent. She was nominated for both a Helen Hayes Award and a Jefferson Award for that performance.
Aida — at the Palace Theatre — features a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang, sets and costumes by Bob Crowley, lighting by Natasha Katz, choreography by Wayne Cilento and direction by Robert Falls. The Palace Theatre is located at Broadway and 47th Street, and tickets are available by calling the Disney hotline, (212) 307-4747. A Dutch language production of Aida opened in Amsterdam in the fall of 2001, and a touring company is currently making its way across the country.