Date: 8th July 2004
WORKING TITLE FILMS & OLD VIC PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCE THE WEST END OPENING OF BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
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 11th 2005.
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. Working Title Films have produced more than 70 films including the hugely successful romantic comedies FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, NOTTING HILL, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY and LOVE ACTUALLY… the Academy-Award winning: DEAD MAN WALKING, FARGO and ELIZABETH, as well as the international critical and commercial successes BEAN, THE
HUDSUCKER PROXY, O' BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?
And, of course, BILLY ELLIOT.
Said Eric Fellner, "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 explains "Everyone who comes into contact with this show falls in love with the story and with Elton's songs - it's an unbeatable package." And Elton told us "I'm extremely proud and excited to be working on Billy Elliot the stage musical". He goes on to explain his empathy with the story when he first saw the film in Cannes in 2000 - "I was profoundly moved when I first saw the film. 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.
Meanwhile Director Stephen Daldry has been leading the quest to identify the multi-talented young performers the show's cast demands. Over 3000 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 six months. 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.
BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
© Billy London Ltd 2004
As Stephen 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 focus. 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 in London. If we succeed, then next March we'll be presenting the unique experience of watching a new star literally developing before your eyes."
"Elton's knockout songs and Lee Hall's brilliant words and lyrics reflect their own very close relationship to this story. So, with a good deal of nervousness mixed in with the excitement, I hope today you get a taste of what's kept us energised for the last couple of years."
An amazing performance night after night will be demanded of the young stars-to-be who'll will be performing the lead roles of Billy and Michael. We hope the boys who perform the parts will begin a journey every bit as enchanted as Billy Elliot's own story. Let's remind ourselves…
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.
BILLY ELLIOT is about 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 musical health.
TICKETS GO ON SALE TUESDAY 22ND JUNE 2004 AT 12PM
BILLYELLIOT THE MUSICAL
© Billy London Ltd 2004
BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
VICTORIA PALACE 8 Victoria Street, Victoria, SW1
Monday - Saturday 7.30pm Thursday and Saturday matinee 2.30pm
BOX OFFICE TEL: 0870 895 5577 Tickets from £17.50-£50
Source: Press Release