A spokesperson for the Elton John-Tim Rice musical confirmed that the singer-actress will not play Wednesday and Saturday matinees during her engagement in the musical. The spokesperson said that Braxton, who has a four-month-old child, wanted to "maximize the time she can spend with her family" and that the six-show-a-week schedule was agreed upon long before she joined the company.
The Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances will be played by Braxton's standby, Saycon Sengbloh, who has been seen in the national tours of Aida and Rent. Sengbloh's regional credits include Jar the Floor, Dinah Was, Chess, Keep the Faith and Soweto! Soweto!. Braxton, however, does play the 3 PM Sunday matinees as well as Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM.
Although opera companies regularly feature two or more performers sharing the same vocally demanding role, that practice is a rare occurrence on Broadway. Some notable exceptions: the women portraying Evita played evening performances only, and those starring as Kim in Miss Saigon also played selected performances.
Six-time Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton joined the company of Aida June 30. Two other stars joined the cast of the long-running musical that day as well: Will Chase as Radames, the Egyptian captain in love with the Nubian princess; and Mandy Gonzalez as Amneris. Braxton's last performance is scheduled for Nov. 16.
Aida — at the Palace Theatre — features 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.