Opening Night Tonight for ‘Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida’ at CLO; Pirates vs. Mariners (Tues., 7/26/16)

The Nubian Princess Adia (Zakiya Young), center, in Music Theatre Witchita's production of 'Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida.' Photo: Christopher Clark.

The Nubian Princess Adia (Zakiya Young), center, in Music
Theatre Witchita’s production of ‘Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida.’ Photo: Christopher Clark.

1) Pittsburgh CLO wraps up July with a musical that might be called the ultimate adaptation. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida is adapted (rather freely) from Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, the 1871 opera that endures as one of the world’s greatest and most popular. It’s pointless to wonder if the new work is “better” than Verdi’s masterpiece, as they are different creatures. First off, John and Rice’s musical is no opera: There’s plenty of spoken dialogue, which appeals to many music fans who aren’t opera fans. Verdi’s basic story elements are kept—the spectacular setting in ancient Egypt; the tale of the captured Nubian princess Aida and her doomed love for an Egyptian commander—but spicier modern twists are added, to bring zing to the thing and make it not so heavy. Finally, the music and lyrics are distinctly John-and-Rice-ish, with numbers like “Another Pyramid,” “The Gods Love Nubia,” and “Written in the Stars” varying through a range of pop styles. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida won four Tony Awards in 2000, including Best Musical Score. Performance through Sunday. 8 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th Ave., Cultural District. 

2) Our battlin’ Buccos open up a two-game home series against the Seattle Mariners tonight at 7:05 p.m. Let’s hope the Pirates can pick up some more wins and whittle down the nine game distance between them and the division leading Chicago Cubs. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.


3) Captain Fantastic I know what you’re thinking: “Oh no, it’s another Marvel comic book movie! Captain Fantastic—is he the one leap tall hedges in a single bound or the one who shoots Kleenex out of his wrist?” You’re so wrong. About as far away as you can get from a summer action movie, Captain Fantastic is about a man, Viggo Mortensen, who has lived with his family in seclusion in the Pacific Northwest in the belief that a rigorous physical and intellectual education would be the best thing for them. When his wife dies and he visits with the real world he comes to see that instead of helping his kids, he may have actually done more harm than good. The film is written and directed by Matt Ross and co-stars Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn, and Steve Zahn. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)

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Rick Handler

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