It might start and end in a modern museum, but the story of Aida transports the audience back in time to ancient Egypt, where battles rage between countries and between lovers.

It might start and end in a modern museum, but the story of Aida transports the audience back in time to ancient Egypt, where battles rage between countries and between lovers.

Columbus Academy's theater department will perform "Aida" on April 30 and May 1 and 2 in the school auditorium off Cherry Bottom Road in Gahanna.

The musical, featuring music written by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, details a love triangle involving a Nubian princess, a pharaoh's daughter and an Egyptian captain, all thrown together because of the battles between their two countries. Aida, a Nubian princess, is mistakenly captured by Captain Radames and is given as a slave to Radames' fiancée, Amneris. Their story unfolds after a statue of Amneris — now resting in a museum — begins the tale.

Reynoldsburg freshman Hanani Taylor plays Aida, a role she said challenges her because of her character's strength. Taylor said that in real life she is very girly and very different from Aida, a character who is strong and independent.

"It was hard to morph into her character, but once I did it, it was awesome," she said.

Gahanna senior Emily Downes, on the other hand, said she is like her character, Amneris, in many ways. She said there are certain scenes where she has to remove herself and let the character come through.

"I enjoy being on stage, and I like getting to be someone else and getting to tell a story that might not otherwise be told," she said.

Gahanna Sophomore Alex Farrenkopf, who plays Captain Radames, said the most challenging part of the production for him is the vocals, especially one scene that challenges his range and requires him to perform with three others, listening to their parts while singing his own.

Downes said the music should draw the audience in because it is so unusual.

"It's different than typical musical music," she said. "It's more rock-n-rollish, edgier."

Director Susan Neal agreed, saying it provides a modern twist on Giuseppe Verdi's Italian opera. She said this is the first time in three years the school has used recorded music instead of a live music accompaniment and that the recording brings its own challenges. Using music that is pre-recorded means the students have to time their lines exactly so they don't have to wait for the music to catch up to them.

"Typically, we have an orchestra perform with us," Neal said. "But this requires a bit of unusual instruments, such as a pan flute."

Auditions were held in February, and practice began shortly afterward. Neal said she was able to cast all who tried out.

Neal said the school's theater department has a budget, which helps with costumes and sets, many of which the students build. For this production, the school was able to borrow several costumes from another school that recently performed "Aida."

The show is being performed at 7:30 p.m. April 30 and May 1 and at 2 p.m. May 2. Tickets are $7 at the door or in advance by e-mailing marykate_hermann@columbusacademy.org. The theater seats 438.

Neal is directing the production. Scott Dillon is the technical director, Katie Skamfer is the choreographer and Donna Williamson is the costume designer. Choir director Amy Brooks also has assisted with the production.

lwince@thisweeknews.com