Preview by Jack Foley
BILLY Elliot - The Musical, the adaptation of one of the best-loved
British films of the last decade, with music by Sir Elton John,
is to open at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre on March
The same team that created the multi-Oscar-nominated film of
writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldry, the choreographer,
Peter Darling, and the original producer, Jon Finn, reconvenes
to create this live venture.
Billy Elliot - The Musical is co-produced by Eric Fellner and
Tim Bevan, co-chairmen of Working Title Films, and theatre impresario,
Sally Greene, from Old Vic Productions, along with Jon Finn.
It will also feature songs from Elton John.
Announcing details of the lavish productiion, Eric Fellner said,
at a recent press conference: "As Billy Elliot - The Musical
is our first foray into theatre, it was important to reunite the
original creative force behind the film, but also to bring something
new to the mix.
"It’s inspired by the film, but takes its own creative
journey. Elton, Lee and Stephen make a remarkable team."
Sally Greene added: "Everyone who comes into contact with
this show falls in love with the story and with Elton’s
songs - it’s an unbeatable package."
Elton maintains he is 'extremely proud and excited to be working
on Billy Elliot the stage musical', and went on to explain his
empathy with the story when he first saw the film, in Cannes,
"I was profoundly moved when I first saw it. Billy’s
story, of growing up in a working class household and having artistic
ambitions, has so many parallels with my own life.
"I cried my eyes out when Billy achieved his dreams with
the full support of his family and friends."
As preparations continue in earnest for next year's debut, director,
Stephen Daldry, has been leading the quest to identify the multi-talented
young performers the show’s cast demands.
Over 3,000 boys have already been seen, and the musical’s
appetite for new talent will remain high throughout its run, with
cast changes a legal requirement for the juvenile actors every
This, in turn, has led the team to
open the Billy Elliot School within Leeds Civic Theatre, the only
multi-discipline school of its kind in the North, where those
successful at audition will train.
As Daldry explains: "Billy Elliot the Musical is the most
complex and challenging production I have ever undertaken.
"Art is following life on a number of levels. Finding a
boy from the north, with exceptional talent, has been our primary
"The vast majority of the children we have seen are not
from stage schools, but have managed, like Billy, to overcome
extraordinary difficulties in achieving their dreams.
"Our responsibility is to give them the opportunity to flourish.
I am desperately keen for the production to open in the North
East, where the story is set, before moving to the Victoria Palace
"If we succeed, then next March we’ll be presenting
the unique experience of watching a new star literally developing
before your eyes."
He adds: "Elton's knockout songs and Lee Hall's brilliant
words and lyrics reflect their own very close relationship to
For anyone who doesn't already know, Billy Elliot is the story
of a boy from a humble Tyneside background, whose mother is dead,
and whose father and brother are caught up in the bitterly fought
community-splitting miner’s strike of 1984.
Billy’s father wants his son to learn to box, like him
and his father before him. But instead, Billy becomes fascinated
by the grace and magic of ballet.
Both the film and the musical will chronicle Billy’s gritty
and determined struggle, at first in secret, but then with the
wholehearted backing of his family, to dance his way to the brightest
of futures by winning a place at the Royal Ballet School.
Between now and next spring this major production will come
to readiness according to a tight and precise schedule. From costumes
to special effects, and from ballet coaching to the intricacies
of set building, a team totalling over 230 professionals will
see to it that Billy Elliot - The Musical arrives on stage at
the Victoria Palace in the very peak of physical, artistic and
Tickets went on sale on June 22.
Billy Elliot - The Musical © Billy London Ltd 2004;
Victoria Palace, 8 Victoria Street, Victoria, SW1.
Monday – Saturday 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday matinee
Box Office Tel: 0870 895 5577 Tickets from £17.50-£50