Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Receives National Award

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) has been awarded the Star of Touring Broadway Award by the Broadway League for its work with Starlight Theatre. The award honors those who have given support to promote and enrich the Broadway Series in their hometowns and was announced recently at the Broadway League’s annual conference in New York City.

Blue KC has been a partner of Starlight Theatre for many years and a proud supporter of the Starlight’s Blue Star Awards program. The company was the naming sponsor when Starlight started the program 11 years ago.

Modeled after Broadway’s Tony Awards, Starlight’s Blue Star Awards recognize achievement and excellence in high school musical theatre and is the second largest of its kind in the nation. The program serves approximately 5,000 area students annually who contribute either on the stage or behind the scenes in their schools’ musical theatre productions. Blue KC is now in its eleventh year as the presenter of Starlight’s Blue Star Awards.

“We are especially proud of our involvement as the presenting sponsor of Starlight’s Blue Star Awards. This program is just one example of why Starlight Theatre remains such a community treasure and a valuable community partner,” said David Gentile, president and chief executive officer at Blue KC.

Blue Star judges attend the musical productions of each participating high school and provide performance and production critiques. The culmination of the program each year is the annual Blue Star Awards Ceremony at Starlight in which Kansas City’s art and community leaders hand out awards in 20 categories. Highlights have included awarding two $2,500 Rising Star Scholarships to one male and one female high school senior and the presentation of the Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Lead Role who were then escorted by Starlight’s education director to the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. For the 2012-13 school year, 43 metropolitan high schools producing 50 musicals participated in the program.

“Thanks to Blue KC, this educational program exposes and teaches high school students throughout the metropolitan area about musical theatre, encourages their participation, and helps recognize achievements in this art form,” said Denton Yockey, Starlight President and Executive Producer.

“Blue KC is a longtime supporter, sponsor, friend and invaluable advocate of Starlight Theatre and the performing arts in Kansas City,” Yockey said. “The company’s commitment to Starlight is a true example of outstanding corporate philanthropy. We are thrilled that Blue KC has been nationally recognized for its contributions.”

ABOUT THE BROADWAY LEAGUE The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League's 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada.

ABOUT STARLIGHT THEATRE Starlight Theatre opened in 1951 and is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. In addition to presenting and producing Broadway musicals and concerts, the not-for-profit organization offers extensive community outreach and educational programming which includes classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, the second largest musical theatre award program for local high schools and students in the country. Located on 16 acres, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage.

ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF KANSAS CITY Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for- profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. *Ranked by J.D. Power and Associates in 2013 as “Highest Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the Heartland Region, Two Years in a Row,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area's leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health and wellness of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at BlueKC.com.

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For more information, contact: Karen Massman VanAsdale karen.vanasdale@kcstarlight.com (816) 997-1144 (o)

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