Billy Elliot Extends to April 1, 2006 at the Victoria Palace

After receiving rapturous reviews in London, Elton John's musical Billy Elliot will extend its booking period to April 1st, 2006.

The extension of the musical, which was already fueled by strong advance sales, also ties in with the July release of John's single of one of the show's hits--"Electricity." The song, which Billy sings as an ode to the dancing he loves so much, is close to John's heart: "I'm often asked to describe how I write melodies and . .. ("Electricity") comes very close to summing it up for me."

The show, based upon the heartwarming film favorite of 2002, was modified after beginning previews on March 31st; it opened on May 11th at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Produced by Old Vic Productions and Working Title (the production company behind Bridget Jones' Diary), and directed by Stephen Daldry (who also did the same for the film), the show is choreographed by Peter Darling with a book by the screenwriter Lee Hall. Billy Elliot recounts how a young boy triumphs as a ballet dancer against the odds of a disapproving culture. Michael Billington of The Guardian wrote of the show:
"Daldry's production is a model of fluidity and intelligence. He constantly reminds us that the special power of the musical is that it can express a lyrical idea through physical action."

Three boys alternate in the title role-- Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire. Featured in the cast are Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Joe Caffrey as Tony, Steve Elias as Mr. Braithwaite, Trevor Fox as George, Tim Healy as Dad, Ann Emery as Grandma and Stephanie Putson as Mum. Brooke Havana Bailey, Emma Hudson and Lucy Stephenson alternated in the role of Debbie, while Brad Kavanagh, Ashley Lloyd and Ryan Longbottom share the role of Michael.

Billy Elliot represents yet enough theatrical success for John. The Lion King, whose score he expanded from the Disney film, is still running at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre and London's Lyceum Theatre, and although Aida did not transfer to the West End, it was a Broadway hit until it closed at the Palace Theatre last year.

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