Shayla S. Simmons // Photo: DJ Corey Photography
Shayla S. Simmons // Photo: DJ Corey Photography

Aida Offers Love Triangle of Mystery

Finding love or defying odds – both are full of risks and layered with potentially upheaving plot twists. This is especially true for the Tony Award-winning musical Aida, an epic love story by Elton John and Tim Rice.

At Source through November 18, director Michael J. Bobbitt leads an ensemble of 14 to produce harmonious ballads, spirituals and pop sensations alike as part of Constellation Theatre Company’s 2018-2019 season, Epic Love.

In a war-torn country, an army captain (Radames) from Egypt, unbeknownst to him, captures the princess of Nubia (Aida) and forces her into slavery to serve his betrothed, the princess of Egypt (Amneris). A love triangle afoot, the mystery of betrayal is onerous – and the only matter worth pondering is the cause that shatters love in an ancient Egyptian tale.

The journey to uncovering the fate of these love-stricken nationalists is one of grand proportions. Each scene scratches deeper at the soul as passionately sung narratives draw tears from audience members. While echoing sentiments of longing for what was once eternal but now is at risk of being forgotten, songs like “The Gods Love Nubia” bring hope for the hopeless and peace for those eternally at war.

Fret not, though. The songs are not just of a melancholy nature. On the contrary – the song and dance numbers have listeners overcome with joy, as intended by the mastermind behind The Lion King score. Tony Thomas II’s choreography and Kenann Quander’s costume designs are paired perfectly with each song.

Chiffon, silk, exaggerated beading and over-the-top headwear grace the stage. With no surprise, Amneris, played by the emotive Chani Wereley, donned the best a princess could find, with at least six wardrobe changes. The breathtaking designs even elicited a witty remark from Aida, exquisitely played by Shayla S. Simmons.

“The Egyptians have a really nice thread count.”

Even the Pharaoh earned best dressed with his gold headwear and black cutout overalls.

If you’re looking for an epic love story that will have you on the edge of your seat, a good laugh and singalong-worthy tunes, or your next fashion obsession, see Aida. The production is the best addition to one’s autumn theatre itinerary. The sacrificial love displayed in this intimate space will warm your heart throughout the season.

Aida is playing at Source through November 18. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at www.constellationtheatre.org.

Constellation Theatre Company at Source: 1835 14th St. NW, DC; 202-204-7741; www.constellationtheatre.org

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Langford Wiggins

Langford Wiggins is the CEO and founder of LANCAR Ink, a nonprofit news outlet that produces and distributes distinctly diverse multimedia content created by multicultural entry-level and matriculating journalists to news outlets, showcasing the impact of charitable initiatives, programs, and services aiding a plethora of communities. His personal multimedia works have appeared in five different languages and five countries on Voice of America and TheRoot.com.