Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
CAST changes have just been announced for Billy Elliot:
The Musical. From Monday, September 19, 2005, 14 year-old
Leon Cooke (pictured) will replace James Lomas in the title role.
Cooke, from Newcastle under Lyme, is just one of three young
actors who will play Billy in rotation.
Cooke, who lives with his parents, five sisters and two brothers,
has been dancing since the age of two. He is a Mid-Associate with
the Royal Ballet in Birmingham and only last year, was nominated
for the IDTA, Ken Dodd Tap award.
Also joining the cast as Billy's friend Michael, will be Joey
Phillips who has been performing in amateur productions and pantomines
since the age of seven.
There will also be a new group of ballet girls starring alongside
original cast members - Haydn Gwynne as Mrs Wilkinson, the dance
teacher; Tim Healy as Dad; Ann Emery as Grandma; and George McGuire
and Liam Mower as Billy.
Since opening in March 2005, Billy Elliot has been seen
by more than 250,000 people. It is currently booking to April
Previously posted: Plans
are well in hand to bring Billy Elliot: The Musical
to the West End stage in February of next year, at The
The film's writer, Lee Hall, director, Stephen Daldry, and choreographer,
Peter Darling, will once again collaborate on the project, with
Sir Elton John responsible for the music.
One of the most successful British films of all time, Billy Elliot
won BAFTA awards for Best British Film, Best Supporting Actress
and Best Actor and was nominated for a further ten. It also received
three Oscar nominations.
It's the simple story of an 11-year-old boy, Billy Elliot, who
defies convention and pursues his dream of becoming a dancer and
its appeal was universal.
The casting process for the show began as long ago as last November,
with auditions held in several major cities.
The response, particularly for the parts of Billy and his best
friend, Michael, was so encouraging that a Billy Elliot Academy
has been established, in Leeds, so that young people can train
and, hopefully, join the show's cast.
Prior to its West End debut, Billy Elliot: The Musical will
first be seen in Newcastle over the Christmas period.
It is a Working Title and Old Vic production.