Holy Family Academy is putting on the musical play, "Aida," for four performances starting on Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 6.
The performance that includes more than 40 students is part of a spring ritual at the school. In the past, said Christina Carced, who serves as the play director and coordinator, the school put on musicals by people like Rodgers and Hammerstein.
"Aida" features music by Elton John and Tim Rice, and presents parents and kids with a more modern musical.
"This has every kind of music - from hard rock, ballad, and pop," Carced said. "We're lucky this year to have three really strong leads."
One of the stars of the show is Jose Candelaria, who made a trip to Hollywood last year to compete in "American Idol."
"While he didn't make the final cut, he did go to Hollywood," said Carced.
"Aida" is one of the more contemporary plays performed by the students. It is based on the Italian opera by Verdi, which tells the love story of a soldier and enslaved princess, although the play is derived from a 1998 concept album and was put on Broadway in 2000.
Aida, an Ethiopian princess, is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. A military commander, Radames, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the pharaoh. In what results in a love triangle, Amneris, the pharaoh's daughter, loves Radames.
The school production this year has three strong vocal leads. Kate Duffy plays Amneris, Annelise Jarced plays Aida, and Candelaria plays Radames, the love-struck soldier.
Jill Finnerty-Protokowicz, who serves as the plays as vocal and music director, is currently playing a role as a princess in a performance at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst. This resulted in a curious added attraction - sword fights. Two knights from Medieval Times came to Bayonne to help coach the performers in the art, and action scenes were extended to incorporate these newfound skills.
About 40 kids are involved in this year's production. Since Holy Family Academy is an all girls' school, boys' roles are played by students from St. Peter's Prep and Bayonne High School.
"Most of the time, we have to choose shows carefully to avoid shows that need a lot of boys," Carced said. "We're lucky this year. We have about nine to 10 boys."
Some students from Prep are involved in a show there, and have to shuttle back and forth between rehearsals.
Students are involved in every aspect of the production, from on stage talents to costume making to behind the stage work. Nearly everybody in the production sings well.
Paul and Cathy Duffy, parents of this year's lead performer, have been involved with the plays for almost 10 years. Cathy is a set designer, and her husband is a carpenter. So what she designs, he builds. This year, the sets will be something to look at. Last year, Holy Family put on "Les Miserables," but did not create an elaborate set.
Barbara Chimentao is technical director. If something plugs in or turns on, she's in charge of it. She also happens to serve as technical coordinator for the school.
Two of the things that will help transform the stage for this performance are the light wall - which looks like a wall until the lights go out behind it, and then the audience sees the sets, and the tomb that serves as one of the key sets for the concluding scenes.
Many of the vital people have worked on plays for years. Some also work on other productions in Bayonne, such as at the Jewish Community Center. In some cases, things needed for the production, such as props, have appeared due to the fact that parents brought in odd items from home that no one expected anyone to have.
While the students will hold a special presentation before senior citizens and students on April 2, the public can attend the play starting on April 3.
The show will be put on over four days. Tickets cost $15 for seats near the front, and $12 for the rest.
"We wanted to keep the prices reasonable, and people can purchase them at the door," said Carced.