October 26, 2006


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Aida on a Nashua stage
Peacock Players’ season includes New Hampshire premiere of Elton John musical
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

How did Keith Weirich, an Equity actor from New York who has appeared on Broadway and traveled extensively to perform, end up in Nashua? Ten years ago he was acting in an American Stage Festival production of Forever Plaid and met a girl who worked at the box office. A couple years ago they got married, and now Weirich is beginning his second season as artistic director of the Peacock Players.

The unique show this year for the children’s theater education company is Aida.

“It’s certainly a New Hampshire premiere; we wanted to be the first people to do it,” Weirich said. Peacock Players, founded in 1974, were part of American Stage Festival before it closed.

Created by Elton John and Tim Rice in the wake of Disney’s success with The Lion King on Broadway, Aida is based on a Verdi opera. In the musical, a Nubian princess is captured and brought to Egypt. An Egyptian captain falls for Aida, although he is betrothed to the princess of Egypt. To save Aida from dangerous labor, he makes of gift of her as a handmaiden to his betrothed.

Brady Lynch, 17, of Amherst, plays Aida, and has credits in about eight Peacock shows.

“Brady is an immensely talented girl. She would have to be to play Aida,” Weirich said. Lynch saw Aida just before it closed in New York. “I sobbed my way through it,” she said. Playing the role is a “dream come true.”

“Aida’s got so much power behind her,” Lynch said. Lynch’s other preparation now is for college auditions. She hopes to continue her acting studies at Boston Conservatory but has also applied to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Carnegie Mellon, Shenandoah University and Plymouth State University. She describes Peacock Players as a “safe haven” with a “lasting impact” where she can learn new techniques and experiment.

Other talents are Shaina Schwartz, 16, who choreographed the show.

Weirich decided to go with colorblind casting, although the Broadway company cast black actors as Nubians and Anglo-Saxon actors as Egyptians. “That’s a theme that’s conceptually introduced into the Broadway story,” Weirich said, but actors’ races are actually irrelevant to Aida’s larger themes of war and love, he explained. Another departure they made is to set Aida’s story entrance point in an archaeological dig site rather than a museum.

The Peacock Players are adding a Holiday Spectacular this year, which will include skits and feature another new item, their Spotlight “musical theater touring troupe.” Seven guys and seven girls will perform songs everywhere from senior centers to a booking at Lincoln Center.

In February, the season continues with Disney’s Aladdin, followed by a Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in March, finishing in May with the “Mt. Everest of children’s musicals,” as Weirich puts it, The Wizard of Oz. Neither American Stage Festival or Peacock Players did it, he said.

Aida runs Nov. 10 through Nov. 19 at 14 Court St. Theater, Nashua, at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $12 to $15.

10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played

10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
08/31/2006 Curtain Calls
08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
08/17/2006 Curtain Calls
08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palace’s Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad it’s over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
It’s cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesn’t lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxi’s driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Players’ Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid (II)
Playing with man’s best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to ‘night Mother