Pgh Musical Theater, CAPA collaborate on ‘AIDA’

Alysha Watson is glad to be reprising her lead role of “AIDA” after taking a two-year hiatus away from the stage.

“I played AIDA during my junior year of college while I was a student at Robert Morris University,” explained Watson, 24 who lives in Stubenville, Ohio. “I’m back in town to play the role again and I am going to take the role a step further this time because I understand the musical more. I love the music and I love the story because it is so emotional.”

Alyssa Watson/Korey White

“AIDA” features music by Elton John and song lyrics by Tim Rice. It is adapted from a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Hwang. It tells the timeless love story of Radames, captain of the Egyptian army who returns from exploring the country of Nubia, Egypt’s long-time nemesis. Radames soldiers capture several Nubian women one of whom is Aida, daughter of the Nubian king. Radames is captivated by her beauty and the two eventually fall in love amidst a war between their prospective countries.

The production of “AIDA” is a collaboration between CAPA’s Instrumental Department and Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Richard E. Rauh Conservatory. This is the 12th collaboration of both entities. The initial partnership was the brainchild of Pittsburgh Musical Theater Founding Director and Producer Ken Gargaro and CAPA Instrumental Music Department Coordinator David Knapp.

“This is really exciting because I get to be with the Pittsburgh Musical Theater kids because they are so insanely talented,” raves Malcolm Williams, a 16-year-old North Side resident and CAPA sophomore who plays the Oboe. “I love the music and I love the story because it’s one that doesn’t end happily, which sets it apart from other musicals.”

Watson is excited to be working with Pittsburgh Musical Theater again. She was first seen in “Rent”with the company a few years ago.

“I’m home again! I’ve missed Pittsburgh and theater so much,” she said.

The powerhouse singer is equally as excited to be working with the CAPA Instrumental Department.

“They are absolutely amazing! Pittsburgh has such a great cultural background for us to be an industrial city. I didn’t get to go to a performing arts school and these kids are so talented,” Watson said. “My roots in music are in show tunes whether its a happy show or a sad show, there’s a dynamic to musical theater that lets you see the notes from a page turn into a song and a song that brings emotion.

“With each rehearsal the story builds and builds (and when you perform it for the audience) it turns into a story that you get to tell,” Watson continued. “Pittsburgh Musical Theater took me under their wings and to be a part of this is amazing. They are always pushing me harder. The first time I played this role, I was genuinely scared because I didn’t know if I could hit the notes and this time around I wasn’t sure because I hadn’t been doing anything except listening to music in the car.”

“AIDA” will be performed at CAPA, 111 Ninth St., downtown. The show will run from March 8-11. Each performance begins at 7 p.m.

Having the show performed on her own turf was one of the reasons that CAPA senior and cello player Erika Flewellen, 17, of McKees Rocks, wanted to be a part of the project.

“The music is pretty and easy and very repetitive. I think the audience will enjoy the show. We collaborate with Pittsburgh Musical Theater yearly and it’s easy to put collaborations together with them,” Flewellen said.

(For more information or to purchase tickets to “AIDA” call 412-539-0900 ext. 232.)

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