Billy Elliot - Ruthie Henshall joins cast
OLIVIER award-winning Ruthie Henshall is to join the cast of Billy Elliot the Musical to play Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson. Henshall’s first performance will be May 12, 2014, nine years to the day since the production officially opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
Also joining the cast in May is Chris Grahamson who will play Billy’s brother Tony, while Barnaby Meredith returns to play Older Billy. Ann Emery will continue to play Grandma, a role she created on stage when the show premiered in 2005, and Deka Walmsley will continue as Billy’s dad.
Ruthie Henshall, last seen on stage in Thea Sharrock’s production of Blithe Spirit (Apollo Theatre), has performed in many iconic roles in musicals both in the West End and on Broadway including Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart in Chicago, Marion Halcome in The Woman in White, the title roles in Peggy Sue Got Married and Marguerite, Fantine in Les Misérables, Nancy in Oliver!, Polly Baker in Crazy For You, Jemima in Cats and Ellen in Miss Saigon as well as Amalia in She Loves Me for which she won the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award.
As a recording artist, she has featured on numerous cast recordings, compilation albums and solo albums including Pilgrim, The Ruthie Henshall Album, Love is Here to Stay and I’ve Loved These Days. Her television credits include The Case, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Sound of Musicals, Law and Order and The Mysteries of 71st Street. Henshall was also a judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice.
From May 12, 2014, the cast also includes Howard Crossley as George and Claudia Bradley and David Muscat in their new roles as Dead Mum and Mr. Braithwaite respectively.
Ensemble members are Craig Armstrong, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Spencer Cartwright, Lucinda Collins, Gillian Elisa, Lee Hoy, Ruri James, Chris Jenkins, Charlie Martin, Alan Mehdizadeh, Steve Paget, Ben Redfern, Charlotte Riby, Mark John Richardson, Mike Scott, Phil Snowden, Wendy Somerville, Spencer Stafford and David Stoller.
The role of Billy is alternated by Elliott Hanna (10 years old from Liverpool), Bradley Perret (11 years old from Juan les Pins, France), Redmand Rance (13 years old from Fareham, Hampshire) and Mitchell Tobin (13 years old from Florida, USA).
Zach Atkinson (12 years old from Manchester), Zak Baker (13 years old from St Albans) and Freddie Butterfield (11 years old from West Yorkshire) play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. And Dayna Dixon (11 years old from Newcastle upon Tyne), Demi Lee (10 years old from Middlesbrough) and Millie Thornton (11 years old from Sunderland) play Debbie.
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.
The internationally celebrated show, which has now been seen by over 9.5 million people worldwide, is currently booking to May 16, 2015 and features music by Elton John, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Stephen Daldry directs and choreography is by Peter Darling.