Zakiya Young and Paul Nolan Lead Starlight Theatre's AIDA, 8/3-12


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), Stacey Robinson (Amonasro) and Allysa Shorte (Nehebka). 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).

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