With the future of the Tony-winning musical The Lion King secure, Disney is now casting its gaze south to Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, where the entertainment titan's next project, Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, is set to open Oct. 7, with a score by two of the same composers.
Elaborate Lives has been described as a more intimate show than Disney's previous efforts, Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. The story of Aida, made famous by Verdi's 1871 opera, concerns an African princess and her doomed love for the captain of the Egyptian guard. Alliance spokesperson Stephanie Lee said there was further information as to the nature of the plot or what approach to the classic tale librettist Linda Woolverton and composers Elton John and Tim Rice would take. She said the script was "not finalized" and some tweaking was expected when rehearsals begin in July. Beast director Robert Jess Roth will pilot the production.
Though an intimate telling, Elaborate Lives will nonetheless boast a Disney-size cast of 20-25 people. No casting has been revealed, but Heather Headley, the Nala of Broadway's The Lion King, is reportedly in the running for the title role. Lee said offers have been sent out and she expected the cast to be in place very soon.
The musical's design team reads like Beauty and the Beast II. Scenic designer Stanley A. Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, lighting designer Natasha Katz, and hair designer David Lawrence are all veterans or the original Broadway production. They are joined by sound designer Steve C. Kennedy and musical and vocal director Paul Bogaev.
The Beauty and the Beast connection flows through the entire creative team. Woolverton did the screen and stage adaptations of Beast, and Matt West, also from Beast, is the choreographer. The Atlanta production is scheduled to run Sept. 11-Nov. 8, with an official opening tentatively slated for Oct. 7.
Tickets go on sale Aug. 8. For information, call (404) 733-4622.