Tuesday, March 8, 2011

theatre review, BILLY ELLIOT, Broadway - Feb. 12. 2011

We saw BILLY ELLIOT in London a few years ago so we didn't bother seeing it on Broadway. However, my college roommate Rene wanted to see it and she and I have been talking about going to see BILLY E for over a year now, and we finally got around to seeing the show on Feb 12th. As most everyone knows, Billy Elliot is an award winning movie from about 10 year ago set in North England. It tells the story of 12 year old Billy who realizes that he wants to be a dancer and what he does to achieve his goal. His father is a miner and the miners are on strike, Margaret Thatcher is in control or "out of control" as the people in the show feel, his mother passed away years ago and his Grandma is a little off her rocker - oh, and Billy hides the fact that he is going to dance classes as he doesn't think anyone in his town will understand - so lots of drama all around in this show.   The movie was a big hit and the musical follows the story of the film very closely.

The Broadway show is pretty much a carbon copy of the London production.  There are 3 or 4 boys cast as Billy that alternate in the part - so you never know which one you'll get to see, as there isn't a set schedule- but the ones I've seen have been great - though might be a little lacking in the singing department, but were top notch in the acting and dancing.   I've heard nothing but positive comments about the other various boys that play Billy in the show, so you shouldn't be concerned about who you get the night you go.   There have been Asian and Afrian American boys cast as Billy - so big props for blind casting and not thinking that the audience would have an issue with a non-white Billy.

Emily Skinner is currently playing the part of "Mrs. Wilkinson," Billy's dance teacher - and she sings and dances great.   One of Emily's first shows in New York was CHRISTMAS CAROL (read the "About Me" tab to see my connection to that show) and she has been in several other Broadway shows, including getting a Tony nom for SIDE SHOW (a big favorite of mine, even though it didn't run long) - so it is nice to see her in a great part.

Just be warned, there is a lot of profanity in this show- but as Rene commented, "it's that swearing in an English accent type of profanity, so that's the good kind"

Here is a clip of the three boys that alternated as "Billy" in the orginal Broadway cast of the show- they all won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.

Amazon link for the Original London Cast Recording - Billy Elliot: The Musical (Original Cast Recording)

Amazon link for the dvd of the movie - Billy Elliot

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