Photo by George Byron Griffiths
Broadway Re-Imagined: "Aida"
With a production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida at the Pantages Theatre, Theatre Latte Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust launch a new annual partnership called Broadway Re-Imagined. According to Latte Da artistic director Peter Rothstein, “Our five-year collaboration with All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (co-produced with Cantus) has done very well. And I love the Pantages. It’s a Broadway house but has a more intimate feel.”
“My work is about reconception, not deconstruction. It resonates in a different way.”
For economic reasons, most of Latte Da’s productions are smaller-scale and play in smaller venues. But Rothstein has experience directing large-scale musicals at such venues as the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. (His production of Guys & Dolls there came to the Ordway in 2011.) Reimagining Broadway shows fit right into his aesthetic. “I’m bringing my own point of view,” he says. “My work is about reconception, not deconstruction. It resonates in a different way.”
As far as reimagining Aida, a Tony-winning musical based on Verdi’s opera, “our point of departure is different,” Rothstein says. The show begins and ends in a contemporary museum, where a statue comes to life and narrates the tale set in ancient Egypt. “Our whole production takes place in the museum. It’s more overtly a performance than it was on Broadway. It’s staged like a rock concert.”
Rothstein admits that reimagining works is trickier when put in a Broadway house such as the Pantages. “The audience comes with different expectations.” But if anyone can meet those expectations, it’s Rothstein and company. Jan. 3–27. Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 800-982-2787, hennepintheatretrust.org