Disney may be planning to move its latest stage musical, the Elton John Tim Rice Aida, into Broadway's Palace Theatre for the winter of 2000, according to a Mar. 3 article in Variety. Aida's residency at the theatre would necessitate the removal of the long-running hit Beauty and the Beast. Variety reported a deal was underway to shift the show to the Lunt-Fontanne, currently the home of the struggling Titanic.
Disney spokespersons were unavailable for comment at press time. A spokesperson at Boneau-Bryan/Brown (which represents both Beauty and the Beast and Titanic) had no comment on the Variety article.
For now, the only Palace that seems definitely to be in Aida's future is Chicago's theatre by that name. The musical will receive its second regional stand (after last fall's stint in Atlanta) at the Windy City Palace, playing an eight-week run from Nov. 5, 1999 to Jan. 2, 2000, according to an Equity casting notice. Death of a Salesman's Robert Falls will direct, while Wayne Cilento will choreograph. Bob Crowley is the set designer.
Sherie Scott will again play the part of Amneris in Aida, said a spokesperson for Larry Taub at the Gersh Agency, which reps Scott. Scott played the role during last year's ill-fated Atlanta production of the musical. She is currently starring in Kander & Ebb's Over & Over at VA's Signature Theatre.
Heather Headley, another veteran of Atlanta, has already been selected for the title role of Aida. That leaves only one other leading role, Radames, to be cast. Rent vet Adam Pascal, however, may be a candidate for Radames. Reached Mar. 1, a spokesperson at Paradigm, which reps Pascal, said the actor singer was still considering an offer to play the role.
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 Falls and Crowley, respectively, as well as choreographer 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 has made his reputation with grandly rethought stagings of classics such as Hamlet , Galileo , The Iceman Cometh , and the recent Death of a Salesman, now playing in New York. 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.
The show's score, an all-star album, titled "Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida," will find its place in record stores 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