Monday, July 07, 2008

Broadway Preview: Billy Elliot - The Musical

Broadway Preview: Billy Elliot - The Musical

After first taking London's West End by storm just over three years ago, the Lee Hall/Elton John tuner Billy Elliot - The Musical is set for its Great White Way debut.

(Interestingly enough, I was supposed to see the show three years ago tonight, but the performance was canceled due to the 7/7 terrorist bombings that brought London to a standstill. It wasn't until that November when I was finally able to see the musical.)

Based on the highly successful worldwide smash film from 2000, the stage incarnation begins previews at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on October 1, with opening night set for November 13. Stephen Daldry, who directed the movie also helms this musical. It should also be noted that Lee Hall, who is credited with writing the original screenplay, not only wrote the stage show's lyrics, but he also serves as its librettist.

While most casting is yet to be named as they dig deep beneath the Imperial Theatre to properly house Ian MacNeil's enormous corkscrew stage design, the three alternating Billys have been announced. They include David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish.

Longtime readers will recall that Billy Elliot - The Musical ranked eighth on my list of the best shows I saw during the 2005-06 Theatrical Season. You may also recall that I previously worried that the Broadway producers might find it necessary to dumb down this intrinsically British show for American audiences. Yet, by all accounts (including Michael Riedel's), this will essentially be the same production I enjoyed in London in late 2005. Riedel noted:

There's been a lot of talk that Billy Elliot -- which is set in a mining town in the north of England and pulls no punches in its left-wing politics - would have to be watered down for Broadway. The working-class British accents would be too hard to understand; the brutal anti-Thatcher, anti-Reagan, anti-capitalism stance might offend Americans; the overall grittiness might be too intense for Broadway audiences doped out on feel-good stage cartoons.

I'm happy to report that John, Daldry and producer
Eric Fellner said they decided not to mainstream the musical for Broadway.

The show New York is going to get is the one that's been playing to packed houses in London for the past three years.
Taboo it ain't. That, plus the exceptional score by Hall and John, should help ensure a giant leap in advance ticket sales.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Broadway Preview: Godspell (July 6, 2008)
Broadway Preview: All My Sons (July 5, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Man For All Seasons (July 3, 2008)
Broadway Preview: To Be Or Not To Be (July 2, 2008)
Broadway Preview: The Seagull (July 1, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Equus (June 30, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Tale Of Two Cities (June 28, 2008)
Broadway Preview: for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (June 25, 2008)
Broadway Preview: [title of show] (June 24, 2008)
Broadway: What's Next (June 20, 2008)
Billy Elliot Set To Make Imperial Leap Across Pond (August 21, 2007)
Billy Elliot Leaps One Step Closer To Broadway Bow (October 20, 2006)
Which British Hits Will Be Broadway-Bound? (September 20, 2006)
Billy Elliot Set for 2008 Broadway Bow? (September 6, 2006)
Remembrances of London’s 7/7 (July 7, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #8 - Billy Elliot The Musical (May 18, 2006)

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At 07 July, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Hey Steve,
First, I'm really enjoying these Broadway previews!

And I really, really want to see Billy Elliot. I think this is my most anticipated show of the season. (Well, in addition to the play that David Hyde Pierce is doing in the spring!) I loved the movie, I've been to Northern England a few times, including the area where it takes place. I think it's a great story, I'm really interested in the political aspects, and I'm so glad they're not changing it for American audiences. I guess you never know who'll be playing the title role when you go see it, since they rotate. But I watched the video of the three Billys being introduced to the press in New York and they all seem like very sweet, talented kids.

At 07 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, My favorite aspect of this show is its music. I think that the score is terrific.

At 07 July, 2008, Blogger Vance said...

Loved it and would love to see it again but will I be even able to afford tickets? This seems like its going to be the crazy ticket of the year!

At 07 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Vance, I just did a random check on tickets, choosing Saturday, November 22 as my date. I found a seat in Row H for the price of $136 inclusive of added fees and taxes. (Yes, the highest non-premium ticket has gone up!)


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