FACTS ABOUT BILLY ELLIOT:
Opened: Original West End version, May 11, 2005; Broadway, November 13, 2008
Billy Elliot Director: Stephen Daldry (West End, Broadway)
Billy Elliot Music By: Elton John
Billy Elliot Lyrics and Book By: Lee Hall
Theatre: Victoria Palace Theatre, West End; Imperial Theatre, Broadway
Tony Award Nominations: 15
Tony Awards Won: 10
Notes: Based on the 2000 film of the same name.
One of the more successful crossovers from film to stage, Billy Elliot has engaged audiences around the world with its aspirational messages of tolerance and following your dreams. Billy Elliot is both a commercial and critical success, earning 10 Tony Awards and 10 Drama Desk Awards for the Broadway production, and 4 Laurence Olivier Awards for the original production in London.
The musical is the story of the titular character, a boy being raised by a single father in a northern England mining town during the UK miner's strike of 1984-85. Billy ends up in a ballet class run by Mrs. Wilkinson while his blue collar father thinks he's going to boxing lessons. Mrs. Wilkinson sees a natural talent in the boy, and convinces him to try out for the Royal Ballet School in London. Eventually Billy's father finds out he's been skipping his boxing lessons and forbids him from attending the ballet class.
Mrs. Wilkinson takes it on herself to tutor Billy privately, but that plan is also revealed and Billy's father forbids him from any further ballet training. Billy's father eventually sees him dance for the first time, and realizes his boy's talents may lead him to places other than a coal mine. He supports the boy and crosses the picket lines to return to work in order to finance Billy's tuition at the Royal Ballet School.
The original West End production opened May 11, 2005 at Victoria Palace Theatre. This production still runs as of 2011. It won "Best New Musical" in the 2006 Laurence Olivier Awards and 3 others, including Best Actor for the role of Billy Elliot.
The original Broadway production of Billy Elliot opened November 13th 2008 at the Imperial Theatre with the same creative team as the one behind the original West End show, including director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling. This production earned 15 Tony nominations, a tie for most with The Producers, winning 10 awards. Like the West End production, this one still runs as of 2011.
Between London and Broadway, multiple touring productions have been mounted in major US cities. It is easy to catch this beloved modern classic, so don't miss out your chance to see Billy Elliot.
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Good but not great I saw Billy both in New York and Chicago. I am not a NYC snob, but the NY production was much better. The actor playing Billy in Chicago was good, the one in NY unbelievable. They rotate through 4 Billy's since the role is so demanding, so maybe we lucked out in NYC. The stagecraft in Chicago was lacking and the sound in the front row of balcony at the Oriental was very muddy. It's hard enough to understand the Yorkshire accents when the sound is good. The NY theater is also much smaller and makes for a more intimate show. However, if you can't see it in NY, don't miss it in Chicago. It's still a great show. August 10, 2010