Saturday, August 15, 2009

Billy Elliot - The Musical (The SOB Revisit)

Billy Elliot - The Musical (The SOB Revisit) - Imperial Theatre, New York, New York

***1/2 (out of ****)

Third time was most definitely the charm for me in seeing Billy Elliot - The Musical, this time (finally) on Broadway.

For the third time in four years and across three continents, I've seen how the miles on a show can either infuse electricity or take it away. In the case of Stephen Daldry's soaring Broadway mounting, he's achieved a breathtaking kinetic wattage to behold.

Triple threat Kiril Kulish, who portrayed Billy during my performance, offers the most electrifying take on the eponymous role I've now seen. He's not only born to boogie, but he also possesses a star quality I've rarely seen in someone so young. His talent is pure joy to witness

During my performance, I was disappointed to learn that the key role of Michael would be played by understudy Keean Johnson. But once he expressed himself with his natural-born stage presence, I was left wondering why he doesn't perform the role on a regular basis. He is exceptional and has a great future ahead of him.

As pivotal as Billy and Michael are, the supporting cast is every bit as vital in ensuring the requisite electricity. In the role of his lifetime, the incredibly talented Gregory Jbara is spot-on as Billy's father, whose eleventh hour epiphany is powerfully moving without being overly sentimental. The wonderful Haydn Gwynne reprises the role I saw her brilliantly create in London. And the lovely Carole Shelley offers one of the year's top scene-stealing performances as Billy's Grandma.

Thanks to Daldry's invigoratingly taut direction and Peter Darling's inventive choreography, the cast abounds in endless energy. They infuse Lee Hall and Elton John's score -- which strikes a deeper and infinitely more poignant chord with each listen -- with all possibility that individuality really represents, particularly during these financially troubled times.

If you're going to see Billy Elliot anywhere, make this the one.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 19 August, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

I loved watching Gregory Jbara's transformation as Billy's dad. Seeing how their relationship evolves over the course of the musical is very touching. And I thought Haydn Gwynne was brilliant, too. She really added an extra spark whenever she was onstage. I saw Trent Kowalik as Billy and he was great. The dancing is just incredible.

At 30 September, 2009, Anonymous TaylorSwift said...

I’ve seen Billy Elliot before and loved every single second of it! It's one of the best musicals shows I have ever seen!!! This weekend I’m going to see it again with my sister I just got tickets from . Can’t wait!!!


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