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Early Plans for UK Premiere of ‘Aida’ Revealed!

Aida has never been performed in the UK on a professional scale, but that could change as early as next year!

It looks like London’s West End is quickly becoming the preferred home of Disney musicals, with three productions already running (The Lion King, Frozen and Mary Poppins), plus two more on the way (Beauty and the Beast and Newsies the Musical). But it seems those three is better than two because there are talks of Aida making its West End debut in 2023!

Heather Headley in the original Broadway production of Aida.

Based upon Antonio Ghislanzoni and Giuseppe Verdi’s 1871 opera, Aida follows the romance between Radames, an Egyptian army general who is chosen to lead an assault on Ethiopia, all while hoping to gain the favour of his lover Aida, an Ethiopian woman enslaved by an Egyptian princess, Amneris – who happens to be in love with Radames.

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Produced by Walt Disney Theatrical with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, the musical made its Broadway premiere at the Palace Theatre on March 23rd, 2000. It won four of its five Tony Award nominations, including Best Original Score for John and Rice and Best Actress in a Musical for Heather Headley. It also snagged the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album before closing on September 5th, 2004.

Regular Disney-collaborators Elton John and Tim Rice with their OSCARS for The Lion King.

Since then, Aida has enjoyed multiple tours and international productions throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. Despite the show being partly British (through John and Rice), Aida has never enjoyed a professional UK production.

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However, Aida may finally make its professional premiere as early as next year!

Schele Williams (who originated the role of Nehebka on Broadway) is directing a new production of Aida in The Netherlands – a production original scheduled for Broadway until COVID caused the plans to shift.

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Speaking to Ayanna Prescod on the Broadway Podcast Network, Williams revealed: “I do imagine it will open on the West End before we come back here [USA], it’s never been on the West End, which is pretty exciting, and both time and Elton really want it to be in their home.”

Aida is set to open in Holland in 2023, with plans for more European productions to follow.

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