July 25, 2012

Starlight Theatre presents AIDA at the Kauffman Center

Kansas City, MO: Starlight Theatre will present Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA, winner of four Tony® Awards including Best Musical Score and Best Book, August 3-12 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.

AIDA tells an epic story of forbidden love between an enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, and an Egyptian soldier, Radames. Elton John's instantly recognizable melodies and lyrics by the award-winning Tim Rice (Evita, Beauty and the Beast, Jesus Christ Superstar) bring exhilarating energy to the plot based on Verdi's opera of the same name. Sir John and Sir Rice also collaborated to create the Disney and Broadway smash hit, The Lion King.

"Starlight is honored to be a part of the Kauffman Center's inaugural year and to provide an opportunity for our subscribers to experience this magnificent performing arts venue," said Denton Yockey, president and executive producer of Starlight Theatre. "AIDA is the only Broadway series show Starlight is producing this summer and it seemed an appropriate fit for the Kauffman. This is actually our third production at the Kauffman Center this year, however, the first two productions were part of our Starlight Children's Theatre series which is an ongoing partnership we established with the Kauffman Center.

"We have put together an extraordinary cast for AIDA under the direction of Mark Madama. I think this production will be very memorable," Denton said. The cast is a mix of Broadway, regional and local actors. Zakiya Young, who appeared on Broadway in Stick Fly and Little Mermaid, will play AIDA, and Paul Nolan, who is coming to Kansas City straight from his role on Broadway as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, will play Radames.

In addition to Best Original Score, AIDA won the Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical (Heather Headley), Best Scenic Design (Bob Crowley, also nominated for Costume Design), and Best Lighting Design (Natasha Katz). The production also won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. The music is eclectic with a mix of Elton John's pop style, African, Indian and Middle Eastern influences. Audiences will also hear a modern reggae number and a little Motown mixed in.

The talented cast includes Zakiya Young (Aida), Paul Nolan (Radames), Chelsea Packard (Amneris), Justin Keyes (Mereb), John Antony (Zoser), Kip Niven (Pharaoh), and Stacey Robinson (Amonasro). Ensemble cast includes Meredith Akins, Kelly Buck, Bianca Burgess, Stephanie Cain, Amanda Galang, Alison Jantzie, Jolina Javier, Eric Sean Fogel (dance captain), Julius Chase, Richard Riaz Yoder, Leeds Hill, Antuan Raimone, Kevin Santos, and Maurice Sims. The Teen Ensemble members are Madison Calhoun, Joy Donnelly, Emmy Hadley, Madelaine Heigele, Jacob Bogart, Grayson Yockey and Dashawn Young.

The creative team for AIDA includes Mark Madama (director), Michele Lynch (choreographer), Anthony Edwards (musical director), Charlie Morrison (lighting designer), and Braxton Cornelius (sound designer).

Single Tickets for AIDA are $25 to $95 and are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight Box Office at 4600 Starlight Road in Swope Park, during regular Starlight Box Office hours. On the day of performances, the Starlight Box Office will be on-sight at the Kauffman Center two hours prior to curtain time to sell tickets to that performance. Discount prices for groups of 15 or more are available. For information about group pricing, contact group sales manager Stacey Million at 816.997.1137 or stacey.million@kcstarlight.com.

All evening performances begin at 8 p.m.; additional 2 p.m. performances take place Saturdays and Sundays. The presenting sponsor for AIDA is US Bank. All performances of AIDA are at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1600 Broadway. Parking is available in the venue garage for $7 cash; valet parking $17. Patrons may also park for free on the street in the Crossroads Arts District. As parking in the Arts District is limited, patrons are encouraged to arrive and park early.

August 12: 2 p.m. performance will be interpreted for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons may purchase tickets by calling the Kansas Relay Center at (800) 766-3777 or Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966.

Presenting Broadway entertainment since 1951, the non-profit Starlight Theatre Association is Kansas City's Starlight Theatre, located in Swope Park, is Kansas City's oldest and largest performing arts organization. The Association operates, programs and maintains the largest stage in the United States, as well as the 16-acre Starlight Theatre complex. While assuming all annual operating costs for the complex, the Association also raises funds for capital improvements and a variety of programs, including national Broadway musical performances, concerts, community outreach and education. Since 2000, the Association has contributed more than $25 million of privately funded improvements to the Kansas City, Mo.-owned Starlight Theatre.
In 20111, Starlight Theatre was selected as the "Favorite Performing Arts Venue" (fifth consecutive year) and the "Favorite Concert/Live Music Venue" (second consecutive year) in the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association's Visitors' Choice Awards program. Starlight also received a Gold Award for "Best Performing Arts Venue" and Silver Award for "Best Theater" in Ingram's 2010 and 2011 Best of Business Kansas City Awards, as well as the award for "Best Live Theater Venue" in the KC Magazine City's Best 2010 and 2011 competitions.

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