Starlight to take 'Aida' indoors next summer

Next summer Starlight Theatre will move indoors.

In what could be seen as a growing relationship between Starlight and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Starlight will produce "Aida," the lavish Broadway musical by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, at the new downtown performance space in 2012.

The show is scheduled to run Aug. 3-12. Denton Yockey, Starlight's president and executive producer, told the opening-night audience Tuesday for "Mamma Mia!" about the indoor production. "Aida" will be the fifth show of Starlight's 2012 season.

Yockey has been rolling out next year's season in show-by-show announcements before each of this summer's performances. The 2012 season so far includes "In the Heights," June 5-10; "The Addams Family," July 3-8; "Memphis," July 10-15; "Peter Pan" with Cathy Rigby, July24-29; and "Aida."

Yockey said discussions about the possibility of Starlight producing at the Kauffman Center had been ongoing virtually since he took the top job at Starlight in 2008. Yockey came to Kansas City from Forth Worth, where he had been the president and executive producer at Casa Manana since 1997.

When the Bass Performance Hall opened the following year in downtown Fort Worth, Yockey began presenting touring Broadway musicals at the new facility while continuing to produce shows at the 1,805-seat Casa Manana.

In an interview, Yockey declined to say whether he had long-range plans for a Starlight indoor season.

"Right now it's just this," he said. "We're going to take part in the year-long celebration (for the opening of the Kauffman Center) and see where it goes from there."

But he said he knew from his experience in Fort Worth that a state-of-the-art new venue can have an enormous impact.

"I did see how a performance hall can be a lightning rod for the community" he said.