July 6 - July 23, 2005

2005 Season

Gateway Playhouse's Production of
Elton John and Tim Rice’s

Music by Elton John • Lyrics by Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton and
Robert Falls & David Henry Hwang


Associate Producer
General Manager
Artistic Director
Company Manager
Production Stage Manager
Costume Coordinator
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Costume Design

Musical Direction by

Choreographed by

Directed by


Click to read:
From The Ground Up: Creating Aida

July 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

at Patchogue Theatre




South Shore Press

Dan's Papers


AIDA is a contemporary musical take on the epic tale of the love between a soldier and an enslaved princess – a love that condemns them to death, but ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between two warring nations, heralding an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity. With spectacular sets and costumes, dynamic performances and a pop score that features stirring ballads and rousing choral numbers, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is exhilarating!

Cast of Characters
(in order of appearance)






MATHIAS ANDERSON (Ensemble / u/s Radames) recently finished Beauty and the Beast (Fox Theatre Detroit and N.C. Theatre Company) under the direction of Matt Lenz. Other credits include The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Empire the Musical (Pre-Broadway workshop/East Coast Premier), Full Monty (Weston Playhouse), Cats (Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire) and a national commercial for E-Bay. Thanks to the Bloc Agency and my family. LUKMD! Proud member of AEA.

NICHOLAS BELTON (Radames): this is Nick’s Gateway debut. His credits include: Off-B’way: My Life With Albertine at Playwrights Horizons (u/s Marcel), Talk of the Town at the Peccadillo Theatre Co. (Harold Ross), and the pre-B’way workshop In That Valley (Henry). National Tour: Casper (the Friendly Musical) w/ Chita Rivera. Regional: Children of Eden at Fords Theatre (Abel), Candide (Candide), Pittsburgh CLO, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre Under the Stars, and soloist for the Cincinnati Pops. Training: Cincinnati Conservatory. Love to Pop, Mom, Charlie the Boxer, all the siblings, and the Nicolosi folks.

SACHIN BHATT (Ensemble) of St. Louis, MO received his B.S. in Vocal Performance with an outside field in Theatre from Indiana University. He moved to NYC a few months ago, and is extremely excited to be a part of this production. Sachin will be playing the role of Chino in the upcoming Asian/European Tour of West Side Story with Broadway director/choreographer Joey McKneely. Special thanks to NY Bloc Office, Wysandria, and of course Shruti, Ashish, and my Akash.

LAKISHA BOWEN (Nehebka / Ensemble) was last seen at the Gateway as the mistress in Evita. She made her New York debut as part of the Negro Ensemble Company’s production of Colored People’s Time in October 2004 and was most recently seen at The Collective: Unconscious Theatre performing in a one-woman rendition of The Yellow Wallpaper. Past credits include: Our Town (Emily Webb); A Chorus Line (Maggie); Pirates Of Penzance (Kate); Premier of Over The Rainbow… at Arena Theatre of South Africa (Maggie/Wicked Witch); Premier of Rosa Parks (Young Rosa); as well as Space by Steppenwolf’s Tina Landau (Singer). Lakisha holds her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University where she spent six months training in Cape Town, South Africa. Lakisha attended the SITI Company Summer Intensive under the direction of Anne Bogart and served as a company intern in 2004. Many thanks to my family, friends, and Ike. I love you all!

LADONNA BURNS (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Gateway Playhouse debut in Aida.  Originally from Indianapolis, LaDonna has most recently completed the National Tour of RENT (Seasons of Love Soloist).  She has also appeared as the Sour Kangaroo in the National Tour of Seussical the Musical.  Regional credits: Smokey Joe’s Cafe (BJ), Satchmo, Children of Eden (Eve/Mama Noah), Little Shop of Horrors and How to Succeed in Business...(Miss Jones).  LaDonna would like to thank God for His many blessings and her family and friends for their continuous support.  Thank you Booth!  In loving memory of JaMarcus, you’ll always be in my heart.

J. BERNARD CALLOWAY (Amonasro) was recently seen in the musical workshop production of Skin of our Teeth at the McCarter Theatre, music and lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb. Several of his regional credits include: Piano Lesson (Boy Willie), A Soldier’s Play (Davenport), Emperor Jones (Jones), Three Penny Opera (Macheath), Jesus Christ Superstar (Caiphus). Film & Television: Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Rescue Me, All My Children, and One Life to Live.

ALEXANDER CASSELL (Mereb) is ecstatic about his acceptance into the Gateway family as he makes his debut in Aida. At the age of five he was compelled to the theatre. Determined to make his vision a reality, he was nurtured by the likes of Vanessa L. Williams and Charles S. Dutton when he played Piggy in the revival of St. Louis Woman. He believes that everything happens for a reason and actively pursues life one day at a time. Currently studying musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon, Alexander will return in August to begin his sophomore year. Great love to all my family. Peace, happiness, and thanks to the Gateway Playhouse.

DUSTIN FLORES (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making his Gateway debut in Aida. Originally from California, he studied dance with the internationally known West Coast Performers touring with them in the US, Asia, and Europe. After graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, he accepted a contract with Royal Caribbean International playing the role of “Ricky Martin” in their hit revue Superstars in Concert. For the past three years he has served as head choreographer for the Theatre Arts Workshop in Westchester, NY. Other credits include: Gypsy (Tulsa), Footloose (Willard), 42nd Street (Billy), The Boyfriend (Tony), and A Chorus Line (Mike), along with countless other ensemble and dance role in many others. Dustin would like to thank his friends for all their love and support.

MS. GNOMIAGRÉ (Ensemble): A preacher’s kid and the youngest of four girls, she’s graced the stage since the age of twelve in her first professional production tour, with the American Family/Prince Music Theater’s Rainbow Company. Gnomia joined the CFO fresh off the road with a local theater company in 2001. As a background singer for Cee Knowledge and the Cosmic Funk Orchestra, she toured nationally for about two years before being presented with the opportunity of a life time: recording her first solo project at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios (with Sound House productions). She’s worked with legends such as Bobby Eli (MFSB/Disco Inferno), Joe Tarsia (Founder of Sigma Sound House/ Vet. recording engineer), and Dj Miz (World Supremacy winner/Eve). Through her career she’s also had the opportunity to perform for and with actors Monica Calhoun (The Best Man/Players Club), Mel Jackson (Soul Food), Leon (The Temptations), and none other than First Lady Laura and President George W. Bush.

LIZ GRIFFITH (Ensemble / Dance Captain) is thrilled to be returning to the Gateway Playhouse after performing last summer as Bombalurina in Cats and as a Kit Kat Girl (u/s Sally) in Cabaret. Favorite roles include: The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Sylvia (Sylvia), Sheep #1 (Candide), and Louise (Gypsy). Liz holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. Next up: Liz will perform this fall in the pre-Broadway workshop of ABBA’s Kristina. Lots of love to her family and friends—thank you, thank you, thank you for your unfaltering support!

DEUNDRE C. JAMES (Ensemble) DJ is no stranger to the Gateway stage, having performed in Kiss Me Kate, On the Town, The Holiday Spectacular, and Cabaret, as well as Evita and Ain’t Misbehavin’ earlier this season. DJ recently Asst. Choreographed the Nat’l Tour of My One and Only. A graduate of the University of Houston with a BFA in Theatre, DJ is also an alumnus of Anne Reinking’s Broadway Theatre Project (’99-’00). Many thanks to his family and friends back in Texas for their love and support. God Bless & Amor’.

ERNEST MARCHAIN (Pharaoh) is glad to be back at Gateway after making his debut as Magaldi in Evita earlier this season.  Last year Ernest was seen in the Off-Broadway, Drama Desk Award winning show Toxic Audio, a show performed entirely a cappella!  He also performed both as The Beast and Gaston on the US National Tour of Disney’s Beauty & The Beast.  He has spent the better part of the last 11 years on skates in ALW’s Starlight Express in the Las Vegas and German companies playing Rusty in earlier years and more recently as the bad boy Greaseball.  He just completed a reading of the new 70’s disco musical Last Dance directed by Phil McKinley of Boy From Oz fame.  A trained stuntman, he’s done various stunt shows in Orlando and Las Vegas and feels just as comfortable singing on stage or diving from 10-meter platforms! Following Aida, Ernest will be hitting the road on the US National Tour of Joseph...Dreamcoat. Ironically, he will be understudying Pharaoh!  A proud member of Actors Equity Association since 1994, he would like to thank C&J at Clear Talent Group!

DARREN MATTHIAS (Zoser): Previously at Gateway: Jekyll & Hyde, Funny Girl. Tours: Macbeth (London, Antibes, Nice, Valbonne), Tommy, Seussical, Joseph...Dreamcoat. Regional: Another Time, Stepping Out, The Song of Jacob Zulu (Steppenwolf); Riverview, Never the Sinner (Goodman); The Wizard of Oz (Ordway and Cincinnati Playhouse); Lizzie Borden (Goodspeed); Equus, Candide, The Rocky Horror Show (Cincinnati Playhouse); Arcadia (Clarence Brown); Bent, The Shadow Box, Poor Super Man (Phoenix); Of Thee I Sing (Remains); Illyria (Shakespeare Theater of NJ); 90 North (Kennedy Center); Aida (Actor’s Playhouse); Film: Bringing Out the Dead, For Love of the Game, Center Stage, At First Sight, The Definite Maybe. TV: Sex and the City and Oz (HBO), Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU (NBC), Chappelle’s Show (Comedy Central).

CHRISTOPHER MESSINA (Ensemble): A native New Yorker, Chris has been singing and dancing since the age of six. He just recently returned from the National Tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. His regional credits include Into the Woods (Jack), My Fair Lady (Freddy), The Sound of Music (Rolf), and The Wizard of Oz (The Scarecrow). This is Chris’ debut performance at Gateway, and he would like to thank the Gateway family for giving him this wonderful opportunity. He would also like to thank his family and friends for all their love and support. “Happiness is wanting what you have.”

EMILY MITCHELL (Ensemble / u/s Aida) joins Aida after touring with the European production of Hair. In addition to performing abroad, she has been in US productions such as Hairspray (Broadway), Dreamgirls (Regional), Children of Eden (Regional), and Beehive (Regional). Although she is currently a proud New Yorker, she originally hails from Southern California where she earned her MFA at SDSU. Special thanks to her family and friends for their constant love and support.

KATHY NEJAT (Ensemble) is honored to be returning to Gateway to be a part of Aida. She was last seen here as Rumpleteazer in Cats and Mimi in Miss Saigon. National Tour: Joseph… starring John Secada. Regional: Mimi in Miss Saigon (Paper Mill Playhouse, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and Casa Mañana), Francisca in West Side Story (North Shore Music Theatre), Tuptim u/s in The King and I (Fulton Opera House). TV: Dance in America (PBS), One Life to Live, The Miss America Pageant, QVC. Commercials/Print: Verizon, Olympus, Neutrogena, Hoover, Lucille Roberts Fitness, Amena Communications. Much love to the fam and “h.e.” to Ben.

MICHAEL SCIBILIA (Ensemble): This is Michael’s second appearance on the Gateway stage, after making his debut this year in Evita. Michael is a graduate of AMDA. Recent credits include: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (National Tour), Cinderella (National Tour), West Side Story (Asst. Dir./Chorus, Riff/Action), Crazy for You (Bobby Child), Evita (Che), Pirates of Penzance (u/s Frederick), My Way (Tenor Soloist). Michael thanks his family and friends for their love and support, and says “Be a storyteller; the world will always need them.”

ANTYON L. SMITH (Ensemble): As a graduate of AMDA and a new face in the industry, Antyon Smith is thoroughly grateful and thrilled to be a part of the cast of Aida. Since he was a child growing up in Xenia, OH, he’s always wanted to be a stage performer—and now he has the chance to do what his heart loves. Antyon believes there’s nowhere to go but up after doing this great production. He thanks his mother Fragina R. Brown, his roommates Charity, James, Lindsay, and Jason, and most of all, God!

ELIZABETH STANLEY (Amneris) is thrilled to be making her Gateway debut in Aida. This spring she toured the NYC public schools in On the Town. Favorite regional and touring credits include: Cabaret (Fraulein Kost/Fritzie), Side Show (Daisy), Honky Tonk Angels (Darlene), Sound of Music (Maria), Cowgirls (Rita), and Noises Off (Brooke). Elizabeth is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music. Many thanks to her supportive family and friends as well as Teresa and Kevin. Peace.

IDARA VICTOR (Aida) began her musical career with ten years of training in classical piano. She attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and graduated with a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Favorite roles include: Regional: Charlaine in Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Bristol Riverside Theatre), Lutiebelle in Purlie (Cagle & Co.), Sarah (u/s) in Ragtime (Cultural Arts Playhouse). New York: Beth/Brown/Harris in Shirtwaist (Flying Fig Theatre Co.), Jezzie in In Search of a Better Life w/ Elvis (The Drove Theatre Co.). Film/TV: Starved (FX Network). Though she is a Long Island native, this is her first performance with the Gateway Playhouse and she thanks all of the cast and crew for a wonderful experience in a beautiful show. Thanks to her family and friends for their continued love and support.

TRACY J. WHOLF (Ensemble / u/s Amneris) is extremely grateful to be making her Gateway debut in Aida. She recently completed a nine month tour of duty aboard the Disney Cruise Line and performed the roles of Belle (Disney Dreams), Sleeping Beauty (The Golden Mickeys), and Meg (Hercules, the Muse-icle.)  Tracy is a graduate of Northwestern University and credits her wonderful family and friends for continually providing the support she needs to pursue her dreams.

PAUL ALLAN (Producer) Paul has been involved in theatre since before he can remember. In the early days he spent his summers following around his grandfather who had his hands full trying to make ends meet—running a theatre in the 60’s. Paul grew up at Gateway, looking forward to each summer and being able to do more each year. By the time he was a teenager he was an integral part of the back stage crew and was the self-appointed handy man as well. In the 80’s as a young Gateway producer, Paul spent part of the winter months working in NY on many off-Broadway shows serving as technical supervisor/production manager. At the same time he co-founded a touring company whose shows traveled throughout the US and other countries worldwide. The set rental company was also founded at this time and Gateway scenery is constantly being trucked to various theatres across the country. The main focus, though, is still the productions he produces here for our patrons—and this season begins with his 150th! Paul wishes to dedicate this season to his father whose presence is constantly felt as he continues to inspire and guide him—as he did while he was still here.

MATT LENZ (Director) is the Associate Director of Hairspray on Broadway, as well as the First National Tour and Toronto productions. For several years he served as Resident Director for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway and for the national tours. Also for Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, he was Assistant Director for the Elton John/Tim Rice musical, Aida in its World Premiere production as Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Matt’s recent directing credits include: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at The MUNY in St Louis, The North Carolina Theater and Michigan Opera Theater, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Dirty Blonde and Love! Valour! Compassion! at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center in Austin, the world premiere of Scituate at the Stamford Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles production of Confidentially, Cole at the Tiffany Theatre on Sunset, Twelfth Night, Hair, The Ten Percent Revue, The Who’s Tommy (National Tour), Bobby Rivers’ We Can’t All Be Matt Lauer and the world premiere of Alan Ball’s The Amazing Adventures of Tense Guy (Off-Broadway). Matt is dedicated to the development of a variety of new plays and musicals and has also directed numerous workshops and readings. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab.

ANDREW GRAHAM (Musical Director): Originally from McArthur, Ohio. Andrew recently completed the first National Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie. He has also served as Musical Director/Conductor on the National Tours of Seussical starring Kathy Rigby (First National), Oliver, The Music Man, Footloose, and European tours of Hair and Grease. Some regional credits include: Aida (NSMT), Fame (NSMT), Little Shop of Horrors (Baton Rouge), A Chorus Line (Florida), Will Rogers Follies (Texas) and Big River from the Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and Trinity College of Music in London. Upcoming projects include Avenue Q, opening in Las Vegas this fall.

ALBERT ALTOVILLA (Choreographer / Ensemble): Previous mountings for Gateway include Jesus Christ Superstar and Miss Saigon here in Patchogue; Pippin, Kiss Me Kate!, and On The Town back at the barn in Bellport. Behind the scenes he was spotlight operator number two for Swing! ,The King & I, and Phantom alongside the unfathomably talented Joe Loesch. Regionally: Sacramento Music Circus, West Virginia Public, Austin Musical Theatre, Disney’s Magic Cruise and on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in Chess for the Actors’ Fund. Last summer he choreographed dance sequences for Charles Busch’s Psycho Beach Party at Pisces Moon Theatre Company in Santa Cruz, California. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, a unionized league of professional stage managers and stage actors. Thanks to the powers that be. Peace on earth and in space.

ROBIN JOY ALLAN (Casting and Artistic Director) has been the Casting Director at Gateway for the last ten years. Previous to moving back home, she was the Associate Casting Director on the feature films; Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally, Lord of the Flies, Side Out and Ghost. She also cast several television series, pilots and MOW’s, whilst in Los Angeles for five years.  Along with her Artistic and Casting Director duties, she is the force behind Gateway’s Acting School Division, where she teaches the advanced classes.  Her best friend is her daughter Hayley who teaches her every day. Music, her great passion, was infused into her soul by her parents. She devotes any creativity she is able to conjure up this year, to her father, Stanley Allan, who always listened and heard her voice.

DOUG HARRY (Lighting Designer) is happy to be designing another Gateway production.  His past credits here include last year’s Carousel, Cats and Fosse, and also Miss Saigon, Scarlet Pimpernel, Ragtime, Titanic, and Dracula the Rock Opera.  Doug holds a degree in Theatre Production and Stage Management from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK.  He is currently Head of Lighting for Mohegan Sun Casino. And his company ‘DarkSide Design’ does corporate work for General Motors, Six Flags Theme Parks, New Haven Symphony, Calvin Klein and numerous other clients. Doug lives in Connecticut and is married with two children, two dogs, various cats and a toad. He very much enjoys his short vacations in Bellport!!

SUSAN BRANCH (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for over 150 productions, and she is delighted to make her debut with Gateway Playhouse. In New York, Susan designed Griffelkin for New York City Opera and numerous Off-Broadway productions, including Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!, She Loves Me, and Two Gentlemen Of Verona. Some favorite regional engagements include The Taming Of The Shrew and The Real Thing at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Macbeth, Sophisticated Ladies, King Lear, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, and Tartuffe at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, The Winter’s Tale, Troillus And Cressida, and Twelfth Night at Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Beauty Part at Yale Rep., A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, and Forum for Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, and many others at Lake George Opera Festival, Madison Rep, Sacramento Theatre Company, Virginia Stage Company, Connecticut Rep., the University of Texas, Cornell University, and Harvard University.  She now lives in her native Austin, Texas, where her work is currently seen on the stages of Zachary Scott Theatre, the State Theatre, St. Edward’s University and Zilker Theatre Productions. Susan holds a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

JOVON E. SHUCK (Production Stage Manager) is happy to return for a third season at Gateway. His credits include: Broadway: Noises Off, The Graduate. Gateway: Oklahoma!, Miss Saigon, The King and I, Carousel, Cats, Fosse. Other: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre, Actors Studio Drama School, Cherry County Playhouse, Lycian Centre, Main Street Theatre and ArtsPower National Touring Theatre.

KELLY TIGHE (Set Designer): Gateway credits include: Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar. Regional: Grease, Titanic, The Who’s Tommy and My Fair Lady (Contra Costa Musical Theatre); Annie, Kiss Me Kate and Joseph/Dreamcoat (Ohio’s Carousel Dinner Theater); West Side Story and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Diablo Light Opera Company); A Christmas Carol, The Pavilion, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Center Repertory Company); The Laramie Project and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (PPAS/NYC). Mr. Tighe served as the resident scenic designer for Western Michigan’s Cherry County Playhouse (The Music Man starring William Katt and Josie DeGuzman and the world premiere of Will’s Women starring Amanda McBroom), as well as Center Rep. Television: Sunday Night Woah! (w/Mo Rocca) for Animal Planet, as well as several spots for Verizon, Kit Kat, Disney, and Oxygen network. Upcoming projects include: Suds (National Tour), and Almost Heaven—John Denver’s America (Off-Broadway). Awards and recognitions: Northern California’s “Shellie”, Drama-Logue, and The San Francisco Bay Area Critic’s Circle awards. Kelly resides in New York City.



Conductor/Keyboard I - ANDREW GRAHAM
Percussion - PETE DESALVO

From The Ground Up: Creating Aida

When Aida closed on Broadway last September, it paved the way for select professional theatres around the country to obtain the production rights. Gateway’s producer, Paul Allan, seized the opportunity to make it Gateway’s big summer blockbuster for 2005. Allan says, “I felt Aida was the perfect show for us to build an exciting new production around, and we began putting together a creative team that would bring all their inventiveness to bear on the project.”

Matt Lenz , who was part of the creative team pre-Broadway when Aida (then called Elaborate Lives) was first being workshopped in Atlanta, was hired as director. Lenz, who performed here at Gateway early in his career, set about streamlining the elements of Aida to tell the story in the clearest way. Lenz explains, “In Atlanta, the show had too many technical elements, and we ran into problems. I wanted to peel away all the stuff and make it about the people. It’s a passionate and ultimately tragic love triangle that everyone can relate to.”

Scenic Designer Kelly Tighe, who previously designed Gateway sets for Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats, was engaged to create a completely new set from the ground up. Sometimes Gateway will use elements of other sets in its productions, for example, the deck of Titanic was recycled into the bridge for Jekyll And Hyde. For Aida, nothing has been used before; literally every set piece and drop on stage has been built, painted and sewn by Gateway technicians within the last few weeks.

Lenz and Tighe have similar philosophies concerning Aida, that the set should support the action without taking the audience away from it. Since the story is told in either the desert, a palace, or on or near the water, Tighe infused all of those elements into his design. “The set is literally an enormous sandbox downstage,” he explains, “with pieces that can revolve over the sand, like the top of a giant saltshaker. This lets us have a flexible space to keep the show moving. I am not a big fan of turning out the lights, moving things around, and turning them back on.” Fabrics also play heavily into the show’s design – linen and cotton being a physical necessity to cope with the intense African heat, as well as an economic anchor for the country at the time. Lenz says, “I felt that if we turned a fan on this show it should billow.” Dozens of fabrics from theatrical suppliers were considered before Tighe selected those now seen on the stage. However, while the design is rooted in an Egyptian and Nubian aesthestic, it is not a literal representation. Tighe says, “It’s a fine line. We want to be true to the location and period, but we are looking through a contemporary lens. The music is Elton John, and it’s a Broadway show, not a documentary.”

This contemporary lens is also focused on the casting. Lenz and casting director Robin Joy Allan selected a multiracial cast to visually underscore Aida’s conflict. “While there were a few people from different cultures living in Ancient Egypt, it was not a melting pot,” Ms. Allan explains, “but the story is of a couple who cannot be together because of their different ethnic backgrounds.” Lenz adds, “It’s such a vital story and I love the opportunity to do it with younger actors. I think the show is about the characters learning for the first time in their lives what they are really made of.” The actors who would ultimately win roles had to be extraordinary singers as well, as the music drives much of the story. “Elton John is one of our generation’s most talented songwriters,” says Ms. Allan, “the singers must be able to do the score justice.”

Now that Aida is open, Lenz has moved on to his next project – directing Hairspray in London. Ms. Allan is finalizing the cast for Sugar, and Tighe and his team are building the set for The Full Monty. And of course, Mr. Allan is already contemplating what Gateway’s next blockbuster will be.