Elton John & Stephen Daldry Celebrate 3000 Performances of BILLY ELLIOT
Elton John, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall last night (30 May 2012) joined a special Gala audience at the Victoria Palace Theatre to celebrate 3000 performances and seven years since the world premiere of the award-wining British hit, Billy Elliot the Musical. Scroll down for photos of the event and to find out what happens to that cake.
Joining them were three of the original boys who played the title role of Billy Elliot - Liam Mower, George Maguire and Leon Cooke. Also in attendance was Haydn Gwynne, who originated the stage role of Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, the show’s double Olivier Award-winning choreographer Peter Darling and Billy Elliot the Musical’s producers Eric Fellner, David Furnish, Jon Finn and Sally Greene.
Elton John, Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry, who is also Creative Executive Producer of Ceremonies for the London Olympic Games, and writer Lee Hall welcomed a best of British Gala audience including choreographer Matthew Bourne, whose production of Swan Lake was featured in the original film of Billy Elliot, double Olympic Gold medallists James Cracknell and Dame Kelly Holmes, Ben Cohen World Cup winning former England rugby player, England cricketer Steven Davies, film director Simon Curtis, Strictly Come Dancing winner Camilla Dallerup, Paralympic athlete Nikki Emerson, broadcasters Paul Gambaccini and Anneka Rice, TV presenters Dan Lobb and Ben Shepherd, newly appointEd English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Mhaira Spence World Championship Gold medal Modern Pentathalon winner, writer and broadcaster Janet Street Porter and members of the British Ladies Olympic Hockey Team.
The eight boys currently playing Billy and Michael in the West End production Billy Elliot the Musical performed a special finale to bring the curtain down on the Gala event.
Now in its eighth year, Billy Elliot the Musical recently released a further 640,000 tickets for sale taking booking at the Victoria Palace Theatre to 21 December 2013. The internationally celebrated show, which opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005, has now been seen by almost 8 million people worldwide including HM The Queen, Simon Cowell, Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman, and, most recently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Billy Elliot the Musical has also been staged on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre, as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul, South Korea and is currently on tour across North America, with further international productions planned.
Most recently twelve year old Harrison Dowzell from Nottinghamshire joined the Company to become the thirtieth boy to play Billy Elliot in the West End and the 65th boy to play the role worldwide, following in the footsteps of Jamie Bell who played Billy Elliot in the award-winning film.
With a cast ranging from 6 to 82 years old, to date the London production of Billy Elliot the Musical, has danced its way through over 8000 ballet shoes, eaten its way through 3000 pasties and fought its way through over 5000 boxing gloves. Since its premiere, almost 500 cast members have performed on the Victoria Palace stage including more than 260 ballet girls and 70 miners. Liam Mower, George Maguire and James Lomas, who originally played the title role of Billy Elliot on stage and were the youngest boys to win a Laurence Olivier Award for their performances, have subsequently gone on to become successful performers on both stage and screen.
Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds. Set in a Northern mining town, against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family. Billy’s journey sees him stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.
Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.
The current West End cast comprises Harrison Dowzell (12 years old from Nottinghamshire), Harris Beattie (13 years old from Aberdeen, Scotland), Kaine Ward (13 years old from Hertfordshire), Ryan Collinson (13 years old from Southport) and Adam Vesperman (13 years old from Seattle, Washington, USA) who alternate the role of Billy. Reece Barrett (13 years old from Exeter), Connor Kelly (13 years old from Scunthorpe) and Joe Massey (12 years old from South Wirrell) who alternate the role of Billy’s best friend Michael; Dayna Dixon (10 years old from Newcastle upon Tyne), Francesca Mango (13 years old from Northumberland) and Macy Stasiak (10 years old from Darlington), who alternate the role of Debbie.
They perform alongside Gillian Bevan (Mrs. Wilkinson), Deka Walmsley (Dad), Michael Peavoy (Tony), Ann Emery (Grandma), Sean Kearns (George), Kay Milbourne (Dead Mum), Simon Ray Harvey (Mr. Braithwaite), Barnaby Meredith (Older Billy) and ensemble members Craig Armstrong, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Alan Bradshaw, Dawn Buckland, James Butcher, Spencer Cartwright, Lucinda Collins, Jaymz Denning, Gillian Elisa, Helen French, Sergio Giacomelli, Simon Ray Harvey, Kieran Jae, Ian Gareth Jones, Sean Kearns, Connor McAllister, Barnaby Meredith, Kay Milbourne, Steven Paget, Steph Parry, Ryan Pidgen, Dan Reilly and Mike Scott
Billy Elliot the Musical is presented in London by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Aspect and is based on the Universal Pictures/ Studio Canal film.
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