Apr 11, 2017

Aida: Nubian Beefcake Musical

Aida is a favorite musical in high school and college drama departments.  With music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, a  source in an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, and a setting in ancient Egypt that begs for beefcake, where can you go wrong?

A lot of places.






First, the heterosexism is unrelenting.  Hetero-love is the guiding principle of the universe, the meaning of life, able to transcend time and space, etc., etc., yawn.

Second, the plot is staggeringly complex.  Everybody is in love with several people at once (all male-female, of course).

Aida is a Nubian princess captured and sent into slavery, where she becomes the servant of the Egyptian princess Amneris, and draws the attention of Amneris' fiance Radames. Meanwhile, the Nubian servant Mereb catches her attention.

Aida become the leader of a Nubian slave revolt, and also uncovers a secret plot to poison the Pharaoh.

Third, everybody dies.  I hate movies where everybody dies, and I hate musicals where everybody dies even more.  Mereb is stabbed to death.  Aida and Radames are buried alive; ok, they return four thousand years later in a modern-day man and woman looking at exhibits at an Egyptian museum, but still....

Fourth, the lyrics are awful.  Listen to Mereb singing "How I Know You":
I grew up in your hometown, at least began to grow
I hadn't got to my first shave before the body blow
Egyptians in the courtyard, my family in chains
You witnessed our abduction, which possibly explains
How I know you, how I know you
Before that fateful morning, my family enjoyed
A privileged existence, for my father was employed
As advisor to the King no less, which surely rings a bell
For as your are his daughter, you probably can tell

What's a body blow?  What kind of dumb rhyme is chains/explains?   Give me a break

That leaves the beefcake.  Egyptians and Nubians have to be shirtless, right?


Yes, but only the guards and other extras.  The main cast of high-caste Egyptian royalty wear bicep and pec-covering robes.

















Still, Nubians were black, so in the U.S., there's a great deal of African-American beefcake among those extras.










And Mereb, the Nubian slave boy, sometimes gets to show some chest.




















Or not.  I know this Mereb is fully clothed, but Joel Miller has a nice chest and a handsome face, and when are you ever going to see him again?

Maybe at an Egyptian museum in your next life.


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