Billy Elliot: The Musical, the winner of ten 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical opened at the Winspear Opera House at Dallas’ AT & T Performing Arts Center last night. Based on the movie of the same name, Billy Elliot: The Musical tells the story of a young Yorkshire, England lad who skips his boxing lessons to attend ballet class.
The show is set against the backdrop of the violent 1984 British National Union Mineworkers strike against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s closure of British coal mines and the coal fields of Northern England. Billy’s desire to dance is thwarted by his working-class father, Jack and his angry brother, Tony as they struggle to keep the family together after the death of the mother and during economic hardship.
With non-stop singing and energetic dance numbers, the role of Billy Elliot would be a difficult one for an older performer, but on opening night, Ethan Fuller handled the role with ease. Billy Elliot is played by four different boys: Ethan Fuller, Kylend Hetherington, Lex Ishimoto and Daniel Russell. The cast features Rich Hebert as Dad and Jeff Kread, who also play the role of Tony in the Broadway production. Griffin Birney was delightful as the cross-dressing boy, Michael.
Broadway Showstopper, Faith Prince
Encouragement comes from Mrs Wilkerson, played to perfection last night by Broadway veteran and Tony winner “Guys & Dolls“), Faith Prince. In numbers like “Shine” and “Dear Billy” Ms. Prince shines and lights up the stage.
The Music & The Dancing
Singer/Songwriter Elton John collaborated with Lee Hall to write the music and lyrics that inspires Billy to dance and also reflects the anger of frustration of the striking miner. Billy’s energetic dances, a mixture of modern, tap and ballet were choreographed by Peter Darling, who won a Tony Award for his work on this show. Even though the show is about an 11-year old boy, Billy Elliot: The Musical does contain adult language, which is something you may want to consider when taking young children. But if you want to spend an evening at the theater tapping your feet and cheering, Billy Elliot: The Musical is the show for you.