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April 26, 2005 > Aida at Newark Memorial High School

Aida at Newark Memorial High School

by Heidi Leung

Newark Memorial did a wonderful job re-creating Elton John and Tim Rice's timeless love story. With talented actors and actresses such as Tiffany Ishihara as Amneris, Peter Ontiveros as Radames, and Brittany Harrington as Aida, the cast was well prepared.

Tiffany Ishihara was a perfect Amneris. She had me laughing and falling in love with the character while her fantastic vocals gave me chills. Ontiveros was a very charming Radames. It doesn't hurt that he looked the part of a fine Egyptian soldier - girls in the audience were gasping and giggling with glee. Don't let his looks fool you; he is an extremely talented actor and amazing singer as well. His singing is soothing and suave. It's no wonder that Aida fell in love with him.

Harrington as Aida filled me with emotion. The difficult choice between love and leadership was convincing acting causing much empathy from the audience. Not only were the leads good on their own, they worked very well together. During the number, "Elaborate Lives," Harrington and Ontiveros connected beautifully, so well, in fact, it had me craving good old-fashioned romance.

Other roles that deserved a standing ovation were those of Zoser (Michael Sagun), Mereb (Wakka Leatigaga), and Nehebka (Nikki Fernandez). Sagun played a convincing evil minister. His dancing and singing was filled with energy, while facial expressions oozed evil with every move. Leatigaga was an extremely loveable Mereb whose loyalty and personality filled the room was emotion and laughter. His voice was beautiful and heartfelt. Fernandez took me by surprise during "the Dance of the Robe," as she stole the scene with her amazing voice. I was disappointed when her character Nehebka, sacrificed herself for Aida, because I wanted to hear her sing again.

The casting was wonderful and, true to form, Newark Memorial set designs were terrific. I felt transported to Egypt the moment I stepped into the theater.

Don't miss this opportunity to experience Aida at Newark Memorial Theater. Fresh off Broadway, Aida and Newark Memorial are a great mix and a worthwhile way to spend an evening.

April 22, 23, 29, 30 and May 6 and 7
8:00 p.m., (Sunday matinee, May 1 at 2:00 p.m.)
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
For tickets call (510) 794-2099

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