Chattahoochee Community Players perform “Aida”

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JOHNS CREEK -- What do you get when you combine local actors, a story of Egyptian origins and a soundtrack by Elton John? The latest production by the Chattahoochee Community Players (CCP): Aida.

“The CCP had grown to a place where a production of this magnitude would be possible,” said CCP’s Aida producer, Rhonda Fossum, referring to why the musical was chosen to follow up last year’s production of “Seussical.” “It is an incredible story with an exciting score.”

Following auditions during the third week in May, 62 CCP cast members -- ranging in age between eight and 55 -- were chosen from the Atlanta-area.

“We have cast members who are attending [New York University, University of Georgia and Brigham Young University] with scholarships in the performing arts,” said Fossum. “Then we have others who have been on a big stage in the past and they are coming back because they miss [the community feel]. And finally, we have the young people who love musical theatre and they want to learn more from those who have wisdom to share.”

The talented group of actors joined CCP’s 15-member technical crew and a 20-member volunteer orchestra and got right to work in preparation for the show’s July 10 opening night. During the five weeks that precede Aida, nightly rehearsals are necessary to prepare for the dramatic interpretation of the show’s memorable characters. The cast will also use the time to learn the “incredible choreography” for each scene and get down to the tough business of rehearsing John and Rice’s intricate music for each character, as well as for the entire ensemble and orchestra.

It’s not surprising that CCP, a non-profit community theater, is using its performance of Aida as a way to give back.

“Because Elton John has championed the Elton John Aids Foundation for Aids research we felt this would be the appropriate charity [to support through CCP]. I guess it is a way to honor and acknowledge Elton John’s work as an artist, a fellow Atlantan, and a humanitarian,” said Judy Avison, CCP public relations manager.

To raise funds, the CCP commissioned local Atlanta artist, Brian Perrymond, to create an original piece of art inspired by the well-known musical. The painting will be used as a graphic on the production’s posters, programs and ticket design. Later, the original painting and a limited number of signed and numbered posters will be auctioned off on the CCP website. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Foundation.

What did surprise CCP organizers was the perfect complement the Egyptian-themed Aida is to the upcoming exhibit of “Tutankhamen: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs,” which is scheduled to appear at the Emory University Museum later this year.

It “was not intentional, but when we learned of the exhibit we felt it was a natural tie in as both events evolve around similar points in history,” Avison said.

The show will be held July 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. and then again on July 17, 18 and 19 also at 7 p.m. at the Chattahoochee High School Theatre at 5230 Taylor Road in Alpharetta. General admission at the door is $15. However, tickets for children under 12 and seniors 65 and older cost $12 through advance purchase online at www.ccplayers.com or by calling 770-656-4066.

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