GILLIAN BEVAN AND DEKA WALMSLEY JOIN THE WEST END CAST OF BILLY ELLIOT
| By London Theatre Direct
On 14 November 2011 Gillian Bevan (Mrs Wilkinson) and Deka Walmsley (Dad) will join the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical along with Ann Emery who returns to the cast to play Grandma, the role she originated on stage at the Victoria Palace in 2005 and played until 2010.
They will be joined by new principal cast members Michael Peavoy (Tony), Sean Kearns (George) and Simon Ray Harvey (Mr. Braithwaite).
Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.
Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.
From 14 November the West End cast will comprise Ryan Collinson (13 years old from Southport), Josh Baker (13 years old from Rochester) and Adam Vesperman (13 years old from Seattle, Washington, USA) who alternate the role of Billy. Reece Barrett (13 years old from Exeter), Connor Kelly (13 years old from Scunthorpe), Connor Lawson (13 years old from Shotton, County Durham) and Joe Massey (12 years old from South Wirrell) who alternate the role of Billy’s best friend Michael; Francesca Mango (11 years old from Northumberland) and Emily Williams (10 years old East Wingate, County Durham) will alternate the role of Debbie.
They perform alongside Gillian Bevan (Mrs. Wilkinson), Deka Walmsley (Dad), Michael Peavoy (Tony), Ann Emery (Grandma), Sean Kearns (George), Kay Milbourne (Dead Mum), Simon Ray Harvey (Mr. Braithwaite), Barnaby Meredith (Older Billy) and ensemble members Craig Armstrong, David Bardsley, Romy Baskerville, Paul Basleigh, James Butcher, Spencer Cartwright, Jaymz Denning, Caroline Deverill, Helen French, Sergio Giacomelli, Kieran Jae, Connor McAllister, Steve Paget, Ryan Pidgen, and Dan Reilly and swings Alan Bradshaw, Dawn Buckland, Lucinda Collins, Ian Gareth Jones and Mike Scott.
The internationally award-winning show, which opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005, has been seen by over 7.5 million people worldwide, including 3.5 million in the West End. Now in its seventh year in London, Billy Elliot the Musical, has also been staged in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul, South Korea. The show continues to perform at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway and on tour across North America and further international productions are planned.
Billy Elliot the Musical is presented in London by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Aspect and is based on the Universal Pictures/ Studio Canal film.
Gillian Bevan was last on stage in Road Show at the Menier Chocolate Factory, previously she has been seen in Relatively Speaking at the Watermill Theatre, Billy Liar at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Grand Hotel at the Donmar Warehouse, In the Midnight Hour at the Young Vic, The Boys From Sycracuse at Regents Park Open Air Theatre, and she was in the original London cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Her work for the Royal Shakespeare Company includes As You Like It andThe Wizard of Oz. On television she is best know for her roles as Gina Hope in BBC 1’s Holby City and Claire Hunter in the award winning Channel 4 series Teachers, her other television credits include The Innocents, Lewis and Lost Empires.
Deka Walmsley was last on stage in Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters playing George Brown, a role he created in the original production at Live Theatre, Newcastle and subsequent runs at the National Theatre, UK tour and on Broadway. His other theatre credits include Cyrano De Bergerac at the Bristol Old Vic, Enemies at the Almeida Theatre and Playing with Fire at the National Theatre. His television credits include EastEnders, Doctors, Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector George Gently and Holby City.
Ann Emery has most recently been seen on stage in Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre. Her extensive theatre credits include Hard Times at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward Theatre and Cats at the New London Theatre. On television her credits include Rentaghost, Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde and Radio Roo all for the BBC, Emery has also made guest appearances in her late brother’s BBC hit comedy The Dick Emery Show
Michael Peavoy will make his West End debut in the role of Billy Elliot’s brother Tony. A 2010 RADA graduate Michael made his professional stage debut in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Hamlet at the National Theatre.