Tade Biesinger, Emily Skinner, Daniel Oreskes & More to Lead BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL at The MUNY; Performances Begin 6/16
The Muny announced principal casting for the first show of its spectacular 96th season, Billy Elliot the Musical, directed by Steven Minning, choreographed by Alison Levenberg, with music direction by Colin Welford. Billy Elliot the Musical is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
Starring as Billy Elliot, and making his Muny debut, is 11 year-old Tade Biesinger. Co-starring are Emily Skinner as Mrs. Wilkinson, Daniel Oreskes as Dad, and Patti Perkins as Grandma. Joining them are Ben Nordstrom as Tony, Steve Isom as George, Michael Harp as Michael, and Maria Knasel as Debbie.
"This is a thrilling company," said Muny Executive Producer and Artistic Director Mike Isaacson. "Steven, Alison and Colin have spent four months putting together an extraordinary cast in what promises to be an epic production."
The Muny production features scenic design by Robert Mark Morgan, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by John Lasiter, video design by Rob Denton and costume coordination by Tracy Christensen. The production stage manager is Nevin Hedley.
Based on the 2000 film "Billy Elliot," the international hit Billy Elliot the Musical has its US regional premiere at The Muny. A powerful and moving story of a family struggling to help young Billy achieve his dream, the show features extraordinary dancing and wonderful music by the legendary Elton John. Book and lyrics are by Lee Hall. Billy Elliot the Musical is the recipient of 10 Tony® Awards, including Best Musical.
TADE BIESINGER (Billy) performed the role of Fritz in Ballet West's Nutcracker. At age 9, Tade won the title of National Mini Outstanding Dancer for West Coast Dance Explosion and was the National Male Mini Dancer for the New York City Dance Alliance at age 10. At age 11, he made his Broadway debut in the Tony® award winning musical, Billy Elliot, playing the title character. He also performed the role of "Billy" on London's West End. Tade has had the privilege of singing the United States National Anthem to open games for the New York Jets, Salt Lake Bees, Utah Jazz, as well as several functions for the Boy Scouts of America and for Senator Orrin Hatch's Women's Conference.
EMILY SKINNER (Mrs. Wilkinson) Broadway: Side Show (Tony® nomination, Drama League Award), Jekyll & Hyde, The Full Monty, James Joyce's The Dead, Dinner at Eight (Outer Critics Circle Nomination), Billy Elliot. National tours: Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, Billy Elliot, Disney's On The Record. Off-Broadway: Jerry Springer The Opera (Carnegie Hall); Fiorello!, No Strings, Pardon My English, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (all at City Center Encores! series); leading roles at Manhattan Theater Club, WPA Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Company, York Theatre, Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Gardens. Regional: multiple roles at The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Ford's Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Long Wharf, The Old Globe, Goodspeed, Bucks County Playhouse, St. Louis Muny, TheatreVirginia. She has sung with symphonies around the globe and her numerous CD recordings may be found online.
DANIEL ORESKES (Dad) Broadway: The Miracle Worker, Billy Elliot, Cymbeline, Electra, Aida, The Song Of Jacob Zulu. Off-Broadway: The Revisionist (with Vanessa Redgrave and Jesse Eisenberg at The Cherry Lane Theatre), Nathan Englander's The Twentyseventh Man at the Public, Russian Transport, Terrorism, Roar at the New Group, John Patrick Shanley's Cellini at Second Stage, and his Missing Marissa at Primary Stages, Doug Wright's Quills at New York Theatre Workshop, Arthur Miller's Mr. Peter's Connections at Signature Theatre. Film: Thomas Crown Affair, Devil's Advocate. Television: Believe, Pan Am, Rescue Me, The Good Wife, The Sopranos, Third Watch, Law & Order.
PATTI PERKINS (Grandma) Broadway: Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Shakespeare's Cabaret, All Over Town. Lincoln Center: A Man of No Importance. Regional: the Guthrie, the Old Globe, The Kennedy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Buffalo Studio Arena, Arena Stage, Goodspeed Opera House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Capitol Rep. Television appearances include Law & Order and One Life to Live.
BEN NORDSTROM (Tony) is absolutely thrilled to make his Muny debut. He has been seen on many stages in and around St. Louis including the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Macbeth, Title of Show, Urinetown), Stages St. Louis (Promises, Promises; Footloose), Arrow Rock Lyceum (Into the Woods, Philadelphia Story), HotCity (Reality, Say You Love Satan), OnSite (The Trivia Job), Temporary (Gutenberg the Musical), and Echo Theatre (Mary's Wedding, The Ugly One). Regional and off-Broadway appearances include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Arvada Center, Boeing Boeing at Theatre Raleigh, Amadeus at Great Lakes Theater Festival, Equus at the Alley, The Gorey Details at Century Center, and Greenwood and Stealing Time at NYMF. He is an active cabaret performer, playing many sold out shows in St. Louis. You may also see or hear Ben in TV and radio spots for Missouri Lottery, West County Nissan, St. Louis Cardinals, and Schnucks, among others. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Ben holds a BFA in musical theatre from Webster Conservatory.
STEVE ISOM (George) is happy to be back on the Muny stage, having performed in the 2012 production of Pirates! He recently returned from NYC where he appeared in the off-Broadway production of St. Louis Actors' Studio's Day of The Dog. He has lived in St. Louis for 21 years and performed in over 75 productions with local theatres, including Stages St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Arrow Rock Lyceum, HotCity Theatre, New Jewish Theatre and Upstream Theatre.
MICHAEL HARP (Michael) recently performed the role of Kurt in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's The Sound of Music. His performances at The Muny include Spamalot, Shrek: the Musical, LES MISERABLES, Mary Poppins and Bye Bye Birdie (Randolph). With Variety Children's Theatre, he played Michael Darling in Peter Pan and has been seen at St. Louis's Center of Contemporary Arts in the US premiere of Swallows & Amazons.
MARIA KNASEL (Debbie) is overjoyed to play Debbie in the premiere of Billy Elliot on the great Muny stage! Maria was in the Broadway national tour of Billy Elliot as Angela Robson (2013-14). Favorite Muny roles: Young Fiona in Shrek, Gretl in The Sound of Music, Sad Girl in Bye Bye Birdie, 13 Muny productions, hundreds of Muny Kid shows. Broadway tour: Susan Waverly in White Christmas.
To purchase Season Tickets by phone, call (314) 361-1900, extension 550, or order online at www.muny.org. The Muny Box Office is now open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.