So Tuesday night was my night out with Mom to go to The Muny. It’s an outdoor theater in St. Louis that has shows all summer long. Good stuff, too, full productions. If you’re interested in history, they have their history somewhere on that site I just linked to, at least click it once and see the ariel picture they’ve got on there. And all my photos are tagged muny.
Anyway, ever since I got married, my mom has tried to take me and my sister (different nights) out to the Muny at least once. We’ve done it every year except last year. In previous years, I’ve seen Singing in the Rain (2000), A Chorus Line (2002), Showboat (2003), Cats (2004), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (2004)… and I guess I’m missing one that I would have seen in 2001. I guess it could have been My Fair Lady, but I don’t know… maybe we missed that year, too?
Well, anyway, last Tuesday night was my night with Mom and we saw Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida. Now, I had never even heard of this before Mom said we were going. And, apparently, they didn’t write the story, but the music. I figured this out when I saw that The Muny also hosted this show in 1928 (they list all their shows and years in the programs). No, apparently it was written and first performed in 1871 (via Wikipedia). And, wow, that Wikipedia article tells you anything you might want to know. ;-)
But basically, the story is set in Egypt, not sure what time period, middle kingdom, I would guess, and the Egyptian warriors have returned home with Nubian slaves, including the Nubian princess (unknown to the Egyptians). Of course, you got this one dude who is going to marry the Egyptian princess and he falls in love with the Nubian princess (before he knows who she is).
Overall, I thought it was good. I think Mom was kinda iffy about it, but it was an enjoyable performance. However, if you’re looking for historical correctness… well, you won’t get it here. I noticed stupid things like the pharaoh saying “the son of Isis has spoken,” and the clothing, and the fact that the Egyptian princess was really white. Then, of course, the music was not at all what you would expect. Which if you click earlier where I linked to the Disney site, you can hear some of it. Not to say that the music wasn’t good, because it was, but it just was not what you would expect to hear when watching a play about Egypt and Nubia. And… well, it was obviously written by Elton John, haha.
Well, in the end, I was quite surprised. I thought it was going to end in a completely different way than it did. I’m going to spoil it all for you, I don’t care. :P
So they fall in love, right? Her father gets captured (the Nubian King) and she and this other slave (all the slaves know who she is by now) make plans to help him escape back to Nubia the day before they plan to execute him, the day of the one dude’s wedding (Radames, remember, he’s engaged to the Egyptian princess, Amneris). Of course, the plan ends up being kinda foiled. The king gets sent off on his own, the other slave is killed, and Aida and Radames are caught.
They go before the pharaoh, even though Radames is now the pharaoh’s son-in-law because he did marry the princess (Aida told him to). The pharaoh condemns them both to die right then and there. But the princess Amneris intervenes and basically tells pharaoh, “you’re dying, we both know that, and so I’m going to make the rules now.” And she condemns them to be buried alive in a tomb, together. So, you’re thinking, oh surely now she’s going to come and release them and let them run off to Nubia together, right? Wrong, they died. I thought for sure she was going to save them, but instead they say something about their deaths and the death of the pharaoh led to her reign, a reign of peace. I was also disappointed that it seemed that Radames father got away with his crimes – he and his men were poisoning the pharaoh, hence the pharaoh dying.
But surprise endings are cool, no? :-)
Well another one of the songs I liked was this one, A Step Too Far. That was really probably my favorite because in the play, it came right after intermission and Amneris came on stage singing then went to the right, then Radames came in and sang his part going to the left, then Aida came in and stayed in the middle. They eventually all three joined and had this really neat-sounding round going on.
There’s some more, too, but my music buyer hasn’t finished downloading them yet…