Aida' cast largest in J-E history

High schools throughout Central New York are gearing up for spring theatrical productions, but this year's production at Jordan-Elbridge is markedly different from past shows.

The Jordan-Elbridge Musical Players will present "Aida" Friday and Saturday March 13 and 14, bringing together the largest cast in the school's history, Technical Director Drew Deapo said.

"There are over 80 students in the production -- that's a huge deal," Deapo emphasized.

And with such a large cast comes large challenges, such as keeping up with attendance and simply managing a large group of students.

But on the positive side, all of the students who wanted to be involved were able to participate, Deapo pointed out.

"We took everyone that wanted to be a part of this," he said, including kids who had no prior theatre experience.

One of the other obstacles the cast and crew faced was the number of snow days during the rehearsal period, which began after winter break.

Additionally, the story of Aida itself is that of a love story transcending time, which could prove to be a challenging theme for high school students. Deapo said not many high schools tackle productions with such challenging themes and music, and that it is even a first for J-E, who has chosen to emphasize the time-continuum addressed in the storyline.

In spite of the challenges, Deapo is confident.

"I know its going to be a great production," he said. "The students are right where they need to be for a successful production."

Aida opened on Broadway in 2000, where it ran for 1,852 performances before closing Sept. 5, 2004. With music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, the production won four Tony Awards, including Best Music and Lyrics.

The story opens in modern times, where two strangers meet in an Egyptian exhibit at a museum. The rest of the story takes place in ancient Egypt, where a love begins that knows no bounds -- even time.

Watch the tale unfold in the Jordan-Elbridge High School Auditorium, 5721 Hamilton Road, at 8 p.m. Friday March 13 or Saturday March 14. Reserved seating tickets are $9 each. Tickets are available at the box office, open from 3 to 6 p.m. through Thursday March 12, by calling 689-8500 or visiting jecsd.org, or at the door the night of the production.

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