'Cage aux Folles' expected to replace tuner at Palace

Disney’s “Aida,” the long-running tuner by Elton John and Tim Rice, sings its last aria Sept. 5 at the Palace Theater, where it has clocked in 1,852 regular perfs.

Disney Theatrical prexy Thomas Schumacher projects that the Robert Falls-helmed “Aida” will have grossed $165 million by the time it shutters. To date, it has brought in $150 million. The Broadway production took 99 weeks to recoup, and has made a profit of $12 million.

“Aida” is an example to all critically challenged shows.

“We got pretty well beaten up in town,” Schumacher said, recalling the tuner’s spring 2000 preem in Gotham. “The national reviews were more generous, and then we didn’t get nominated for a Tony for best musical.”

Nommed instead were “Swing,” “The Wild Party,” “James Joyce’s The Dead” and “Contact,” which went on to be cited as the year’s top tuner.

“Aida” did manage to win four Tonys, including best actress (Heather Headley) and score (John and Rice). In the end, the show outlasted its Tony competition.

” ‘Aida’ is a good triple,” Schumacher opined. “A home run is ‘The Lion King’ or ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ “

“Aida” stars Deborah A. Cox, who stays with the production through Sept. 5. Adam Pascal, the original Radames, returns to the production in early summer.

On the international front, German and Japanese-language productions continue to perform. “Aida” opens in Seoul, South Korea, in 2005, and preparations are under way for a new European tour to open in Madrid in 2005.

Back on Broadway, a revival of the musical “La Cage aux Folles” is expected to follow “Aida” into the Palace Theater in December.

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