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Full Cast Announced for BILLY ELLIOT; Gwynne, Jbara, Shelley


The full cast of the Broadway production of Billy Elliot the Musical has been announced by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Weinstein Live Entertainment.

The roles of Billy's teacher, father, grandmother and brother will be played respectively by: Haydn Gwynne, who created the role of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in the show's original London cast, will make her Broadway debut recreating her Olivier-nominated performance; Gregory Jbara (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Victor/Victoria) will play Dad; Tony winner Carole Shelley (The Elephant Man, Wicked) will play Grandma; and Santino Fontana (Sunday in the Park with George revival) will play Tony. They join the previously-announced Broadway Billys David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish

Featured roles in the show will include David Bologna and Frank Dolce alternating in the role of Billy's friend Michael, Stephen Hanna as Billy's Older Self, Joel Hatch as George, Leah Hocking as Mum, Thommie Retter as Mr. Braithwaite and Erin Whyland as Debbie.

The original Broadway company will also feature Juliette Allen Angelo, Tommy Batchelor,Kevin Bernard,Grady McLeod Bowman, Heather Burns, Maria Connelly, Samantha Czulada, Kyle DesChamps, Eboni Edwards, Brianna Fragomeni,Greg Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Eric Gunhus, Meg Guzulescu, Izzy Hanson-Johnston, Keean Johnson, Aaron Kaburick,Donnie Kehr, Cara Kjellman,Kara Klein, David Koch, Jeff Kready, Stephanie Kurtzuba,David Larsen, Caroline London, Merle Louise, Marina Micalizzi, Mitch Michaliszyn, Matthew Mindler, Tessa Netting, Daniel Oreskes, Jayne Paterson, Liz Pearce, Corrieanne Stein, Jamie Torcellini, Grant Turner  and Casey Whyland.

With music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical opens at Broadway's Imperial Theatre (240 W 45th St) Thursday, November 13th.  Previews begin Wednesday, October 1st. Billy Elliot the Musical is based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal film.

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Billy Elliot the Musical is the funny, heartwarming tale of a young boy with a dream, and a celebration of his triumph against the odds.  Set against the historic British miners' strike of the 1980s, the story follows Billy's journey as a boy in a small mining town who, after stumbling across a ballet class while on his way to a boxing lesson, realizes that his future lay not in the boxing ring but on stage as a dancer.

Based on the beloved 2000 film which garnered three Academy Award and 13 BAFTA nominations, Billy Elliot the Musical opened at London's Victoria Palace in May 2005 to unanimous critical acclaim.  The production went on to sweep London's nine awards for Best Musical, including the Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Theatre Awards.  It has played over 1,300 performances and recently celebrated its 3rd anniversary.

Billy Elliot the Musical opened to equal acclaim at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia in December 2007.  The two current productions have played to over 2.3 million people.

The production features choreography by Peter Darling, scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

Billy Elliot the Musical is produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene. Angela Morrison and David Furnish are Executive Producers.

Haydn GwynnE (Mrs. Wilkinson). Theatre: Haydn created the role of Mrs. Wilkinson in the original London production of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre and was nominated for the Olivier Award (Best Actress in a Musical) for her performance.  She was also nominated for the Olivier Award when she played Oolie/Donna in the West End production of City of Angels (Prince of Wales Theatre) and she created the role of Billie Burke in Ziegfeld (London Palladium).  For the Royal Shakespeare Company, she last year played Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor alongside Judi Dench and Simon Callow.  She has also played Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Olivia in Twelfth Night and Aase/Solveig in Peer Gynt (all for The RSC). Other theatre work includes Mary in the original production of The Memory of Water (Hampstead Theatre), The Recruiting Officer, The Cabinet Minister and The Bluebird of Unhappiness (all at The Manchester Royal Exchange), Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (Ludlow festival), the title role in Hedda Gabler (Bolton Octagon), The Way of the World (Theatre Royal Northampton) and His Monkey Wife (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough) for Alan Ayckbourn.  Television: Haydn is best known in the UK for her lead roles in the prime time television series' "Peak Practice" and "Mersey Beat" (Royal Television Society Awards, Best Actress 2002 and 2003), and for playing Alex in the hit comedy series "Drop the Dead Donkey" (for which she was nominated for a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award).  She recently appeared in the HBO series "Rome" as Calpurnia and in "Consenting Adults" for the BBC, and in "Lewis" and the forthcoming "Poirot: The Third Girl" for ITV.  Other TV work includes lead roles in David Lodge's "Nice Work," the psychological thriller "The Secret," "Dalziel & Pascoe" (Royal Television Society Awards, Best Actress 2005), "Call Me Mister," "Dangerfield," "Lovejoy" and "What Mad Pursuit" (all for BBC); also the Christmas special of "Midsomer Murders," "Poirot," "The Verdict" and "Frederic Rafael's After the War" for ITV; Portia in "The Merchant of Venice," "Time Riders" and "The Great Writers: Thomas Mann" for Channel 4; and "Hospital" for the launch night of Channel 5. Film: Michael Frayn's Remember Me, The Pleasure Principle and These Foolish Things. Voice: Haydn also has an extensive resume of voice work in documentaries and audiobooks, as well as a wide range of drama and storytelling for BBC radio.

Gregory Jbara (Dad). On Broadway Mr. Jbara originated the roles of André Thibault in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Drama Desk Nomination), Squash Bernstein in Victor/Victoria and Sohovik in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees!.  In 1997 Mr. Jbara was the second actor to star as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award winning revival of Chicago.  LA Theatre credits include: Little Fish, Precious Sons (Garland Award), ...House That Jack Built and First Lady Suite at The Blank Theatre and Felix & Oscar at The Geffen.  Upcoming projects include the films Out Of Step and Exit Speed and the faux docu-series "The Other Hef" at   Other films include:  Project 96b (48 Hour Film Project-LA Winner '07), Enchanted, Ira & Abby, In & Out, Jeffrey, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The First 20 Million..., World Trade Center, Out-Of-Towners. TV recurring roles on "Grounded For Life," "That's Life," "The Drew Carey Show," and "All My Children." TV guest starring roles include "Monk", "The Unit," "Twenty Good Years," "Conviction," "Friends," "Century City," "The West Wing," "Without A Trace," "Touched By An Angel," "Crossing Jordan," "Providence," "Ally McBeal," "Malcolm In The Middle," "Frasier," "Family Guy," "American Dad,"

"Rocket Power," and "Come On Over." Juilliard graduate. Resides in Los Angeles with wife Julie and sons Zachary and Aidan.

Carole Shelley (Grandma). Broadway: Wicked, Cabaret, Show Boat, The Odd Couple (NY debut), The Miser, Stepping Out (Tony nom.), Noises Off, The Elephant Man (Tony Award, Best Actress), Hay Fever, The Norman Conquests (LADCC Award), Absurd Person Singular (Tony nom.), Loot. Nat'l tours: Broadway Bound, The Royal Family, Noises Off. Off-B'way: The Film Society, London Suite, The Destiny of Me, Richard II (NYSF), Later Life (Drama Desk nom.), Cabaret Verboten, What the Butler Saw, Little Murders, Twelve Dreams (Obie), Tartuffe. Starred in Lettice and Lovage (West End). TV/films: "Frasier," "Gabby," "Coconut Downs," "The Cosby Show," "The Odd Couple," Road to Wellville, Devlin, The Super, Quiz Show, Aunt Clara in Bewitched. Disney animated: Hercules, The Aristocats, Robin Hood.

Santino Fontana (Tony). Broadway:  Sunday In The Park With George.  Off-B'way: Matt in The Fantasticks (Original Revival Cast), Philip Fellows V in Perfect Harmony which he co-wrote. Dublin: Death Of A Salesman.  Regional: the title role in

Hamlet (Guthrie Theater); Simon in Hay Fever (Old Globe); Berowne in Love's Labor's Lost, Grover et. al in On The Verge, 9/11 Project, Once In A LIfetime (all at Chautauqua Theater Co.); As You Like It, Death of a Salesman, Six Degrees of Separation, A Christmas Carol (all at the Guthrie).  Film:  Fade To White.  Sundance Theatre Lab, 2005.  Presidential Scholar in the Arts.   Solo vocalist winner at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.  B.F.A. Guthrie/UMN Actor Training Program.

David Bologna (Michael) age 13, is a native New Orleanian (The Big Easy). David moved to Austin, TX in the fall of 2005 after being affected by Hurricane Katrina. David began his acting career at the age of 6 and has performed in 28 productions in New Orleans and Austin. David is a two-time Big Easy Award winner for Best Performance by a Child for his roles in The Music Man (Winthrop Paroo) and Oliver (Oliver). David is a world class Irish Dancer, where he has captured back to back North American Irish Dance Championships. He has also placed as high as 5th in the World Irish Dance Championships.

Frank Dolce (Michael) I was born and raised in New Jersey along with my older
sister. My sister is the one who got me started in dance and in theater and even in gymnastics. My mom enrolled me in tap and jazz classes and it wasn't long before I was dancing in the same tap class as my sister.  When I got older I was accepted in to the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble. Last year I competed as a tap soloist in a number of different competitions. In addition to tap, I also take hip hop, ballet, jazz, and break dancing classes. I like to keep my feet moving. My sister was also the first to get involved in musical theater. I liked that too and started auditioning. A few years ago I participated in the musical theatre intensive over the summer at Paper Mill Playhouse. In the fall of 2006 I had a part in A Wonderful Life playing Tommy Bailey at Paper Mill. This winter I was in my first feature film; Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman star in the film. I also take tumbling and acrobatics classes. I am excited to be performing in Billy Elliot. Thank you to my family for supporting all my interests.

Stephen Hanna (Billy's Older Self). Broadway Debut! Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he trained under Roberto Munoz. He entered the School of American Ballet (SAB) where he then trained with his teachers Stanley Williams, Andre Kramervsky, and Richard Rapp. At SAB Mr. Hanna was awarded the Mae L. Wein Award for outstanding promise. Mr. Hanna became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1997, and later that year he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Mr. Hanna was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, he was promoted to principal dancer. He has performed Principal roles in Ballets by Peter Martins, George Ballanchine, Jerome Robbins, Richard Tanner, and Albert Evans.

Joel Hatch (George) recently appeared Off-Broadway in Adding Machine (Obie and Lortel awards). Other Off-Broadway: Annie Warbucks. National Tours: Showboat, Beauty and the Beast, and Ragtime. Chicago Theatre: Oedipus Complex, Pericles, and House and Garden at the Goodman; Cymbeline, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and The Merry Wives Of Windsor at Chicago Shakespeare; Another Part Of The Forest, Our Town, Rough Crossing, Benefactors, and Misalliance at Writers Theatre. Film/TV While You Were Sleeping and "Prison Break" on Fox. He is married to the actress Carol Kuykendall.

Leah Hocking (Billy's Mother). Broadway: Mamma Mia! (Donna Sheridan), Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle), All Shook Up (Miss Sandra), Dance Of The Vampires (Magda), The Wild Party (Mae), Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy), Grease (Marty), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown). Off-Broadway includes: The Thing About Men, Forbidden Broadway, New York City Opera (The Most Happy Fella).   Regional Includes:  La Jolla Playhouse (Most Wanted),  The Ordway (Into The Woods),  Goodspeed at Chester (The Road To Hollywood), Delaware Theatre Company (All In The Timing),  Paper Mill Playhouse (Brigadoon), The MUNY(Oklahoma, Kevin Kline Award Nomination),  TUTS Houston (The Most Happy Fella), Goodspeed Opera House (Kiss Me Kate). Pioneer Theatre (South Pacific),   Film/Television:  Across the Universe, "Law And Order" and "Whoopi."   Leah Is a principal artist with Broadway Pops International, performing with symphonies across the country.  She can be heard on the Original Cast Recordings of:  All Shook Up (Sony/BMG), The Thing About Men (DRG), The Wild Party (Decca) And Jekyll and Hyde (Atlantic). Lovely family: Jim and Mabel.

Thommie Retter (Mr. Braithwaite) Broadway debut.  He comes from Los Angeles, California, where he was discovered by Lee Proud, a London cast member, while teaching a tap class at The Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood.  Thommie's vibrant personality, enormous talent and unique look so impressed Mr. Proud that he approached him to audition for the show. Thommie has directed and or choreographed numerous productions, including the hit Disney show "Cory In The House," the international stage show, Caution: Men at Work-TAP, and was a featured performer on an Emmy-nominated episode of "Malcolm in the Middle."  In addition to performing, choreographing and directing, he is a master tap and jazz teacher who has taught throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and Central and South America.  Thommie is also an accomplished song-writer and producer, having ownership in

Moho Productions, a Los Angeles-based music production company which specializes in young artist development.  You can find out more about Thommie's work at  He has a loving wife, Becca, and two little girls, Liza, age 6, and Bella, age 3.

Erin Whyland (Debbie). Erin is 9 years old and lives in Syracuse, NY with her mom, dad, and big sister Casey. She is a proud 'theatre geek' who has been dancing, singing and acting since she was 2 years old. In 2006 she was cast in her first professional show at Syracuse Stage playing Gretl in The Sound of Music and in 2007 she appeared in Fiddler on the Roof at the Cortland Repretory Theatre. This was her first audition in New York and she is so excited to be sharing her Broadway debut with her big sister and best friend. When she's away from the theatre Erin enjoys swimming, playing on her Wii, hanging out with friends, and rooting for the Red Sox.

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