Mutli Award-Winning Musical Billy Elliot Celebrates Ten Years In West End
| By Jacob Porteous
Tonight, 12 May 2015, the multi award-winning smash hit Billy Elliot the Musical celebrates ten years in the West End. The musical received its world premiere at the Victoria Palace Theatre in March 2005 with the gala opening night taking place exactly 10 years ago today.
To coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations, Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre today announces an extension to the West End run, releasing over 600,000 tickets for sale, taking booking through to 17 December 2016. In addition, the first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical is also announced today, opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in February 2016. Further tour dates and booking details will be announced shortly.
Elton John said: “When Stephen, Lee and I started work on Billy Elliot the Musical I knew this was going to be something very special. It’s no secret that I fell in love with the film and from that moment I was convinced Billy’s story should be seen on stage. When I saw the show for the first time back in 2005 I was completely bowled over and ten years and forty London Billy Elliots later, I couldn’t be more proud of this extraordinary show. Billy Elliot in particular means something very special to me and I want to thank absolutely everyone who has been involved in the production throughout this incredible journey.”
Stephen Daldry said: “We are all delighted to see Billy Elliot the Musical reach its next milestone of ten thrilling years in the West End. When the idea of turning Billy Elliot in to a musical was first suggested I immediately knew that live theatre would be the natural home to re-tell his story. We began the task and on 12 May 2005, we opened the show at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Ten years later, with 82 boys having played the title role in front of 10 million theatregoers worldwide, we are today announcing the next chapter – the Billy Elliot West End run is being further extended and in February 2016 Billy Elliot will begin its first ever UK and Ireland tour. From the start, Billy Elliot has given me enormous professional fulfilment as well as huge pride and the show will always have a very special place in my heart.”
Lee Hall said: “When I wrote Billy Elliot all those years ago – the story of a miner’s son in the 80s who wanted to be a ballet dancer – I would never have believed we would be here today celebrating the show’s tenth birthday as a musical. Every time I catch up with Billy Elliot I continue to be moved by the extraordinary talent on stage and the audiences’ openness to Billy’s journey. From film to stage, Billy Elliot has been, without doubt, the most rewarding and exhilarating experience of my career.”
Eric Fellner said: “Over the past ten years our truly British musical has been staged on five continents garnering over eighty awards internationally. In Billy Elliot the Musical, Stephen, Lee, Elton and Peter have created something quite extraordinary and with our first UK tour in the planning and an extended run in the West End now on sale, we look forward to continuing to inspire audiences in the UK with Billy’s exceptional story. As Working Title’s first theatre production we could not be more pleased. We wish every member of the Billy Elliot family, both past and present, a very happy tenth birthday.”
Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by over 10 million people worldwide and has played in five continents. With over 500 children having now performed on the Victoria Palace Theatre stage, the company has pirouetted through almost 3000 ballet shoes. Billy Elliot the Musical is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including ten Tony Awards and five Oliviers, including the 2013 Audience Award. Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire, the first three boys to play the title role, went on to win Olivier awards for their performances, with the show also winning the Olivier for Best Musical. In total, world-wide, eighty two boys have now played the iconic role on stage, and in March this year the London production welcomed 10 year old Thomas Hazelby, the fortieth young boy to take on the title role.
Billy Elliot the Musical London is brought to life by the multiple award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry, and choreographer, Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show’s score. 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.
September 2014 saw a record breaking twenty-five former and current Billy Elliots come together on stage in a specially choreographed mash-up finale for Billy Elliot the Musical Live, a unique performance that was broadcast live to the UK and around the world becoming the widest ever cinema release of a live event and hitting number one at the UK box office.
The adult cast is led by Ruthie Henshall as Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, Deka Walmsley as Dad, Chris Grahamson as Tony and Gillian Elisa as Grandma. Thomas Hazelby (10 years old from Doncaster), Brodie Donougher (12 years old from Blackpool), Ollie Jochim (13 years old from Chelmsford, Essex) and Bradley Perret (13 years old from Juan les Pins, France) alternate the title role of Billy Elliot. Nathan Jones (12 years old from Prudhoe, Northumberland) joins Todd Bell (12 years old from Whitehaven, Cumbria) and Tomi Fry (12 years old from Swindon) to play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. Kyria Cooper (11 years old from Hartlepool), Connie Fisher (10 years old from Brompton, North Yorkshire) and Demi Lee (11 years old from Middlesbrough) alternate the role of Debbie.