Photo Flash: West End's BILLY ELLIOT Posts Closing Date; A Look Back at the Show's Run!
Universal Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions today (10 December 2015) announce that after 4,600 performances, due to the theatre's previously announced refurbishment programme, the multi award-winning West End production ofBilly Elliot the Musical will play its final performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 9 April 2016 as the production celebrates its eleventh birthday. The show has been seen to date by over 5.25 million people in London and nearly 11 million people worldwide, has grossed over $800 million worldwide and is the winner of over 80 theatre awards internationally.
In June this year tickets went on sale for the first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical, opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in February 2016 when the touring and West End productions will be playing concurrently. Further dates - Sunderland, Bradford, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Southampton and Birmingham - have subsequently been announced, with the tour currently booking to May 2017. The first Japanese language production will open at the Akasaka ACT Theater in Tokyo in 2017.
Brought to life by the award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldryand choreographer Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show's score, Billy Elliot the Musical 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.
Based on the Oscar nominated film released in 2000 and set in a northern mining town against the background of the 1984/'85 miners' strike, Billy's journey takes him 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.
Eric Fellner, Producer and Co-Chairman, Working Title Films, said: "After eleven incredible years at the Victoria Palace Theatre, I join my fellow producers in expressing our gratitude to absolutely everyone involved in making the show the enormous success it has become. It has been a privilege to witness Billy Elliot's journey so far from producing the film in 1999 to the musical opening in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Broadway, Chicago, Seoul and Toronto amongst many other cities. I am delighted that Billy will continue his extraordinary journey when we begin our first UK and Ireland tour next year and look forward to the first Japanese production opening in Tokyo in 2017. Billy Elliot the Musical is Working Title's first theatre production and we could not be more delighted with how audiences in London and worldwide have embraced this young boy's inspirational story."
Jimmy Horowitz, President, Universal Pictures, said: "Billy Elliot is one of the finest examples of what makes live theatre so special. When a powerful story is combined with a brilliant creative team and brought to life on stage by a company of talented and generous artists, there is truly nothing like it. All of us at Universal Stage Productions congratulate each and every individual who has contributed to the extraordinary success of this production over the last eleven years, and offer a heartfelt thank you to our London audiences who have so lovingly embraced Billy Elliot since the very beginning. Billy is about community and we are very proud to have been a part of yours."
Elton John said: "I've said it before and it still remains true, Billy Elliot has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. The talented young performers who have become part of our Billy Elliot family have amazed me with their achievements from the very start. Each time I have revisited the show I have been moved by Billy's heart-warming story and his determination to achieve his dreams. I am so delighted that new audiences around the country will now have the opportunity to experience this extraordinary piece of work."
Stephen Daldry said: "After eleven years and forty two London Billy Elliots, there are a huge number of people to whom we are enormously grateful, who have offered encouragement and support behind the scenes to our incredible child performers. From the mums and dads to the dance teachers and teachers of every kind who have helped them along the way, we want to say a massive thank you. The story of a miner's son in the 80s who wanted to be a ballet dancer captured the imagination of audiences and critics alike and the dedication of everyone who has brought the show to life at the Victoria Palace Theatre and beyond has been exemplary. It has been a real privilege to have had the opportunity to retell Billy's story on stage with my fellow creative team - I genuinely could not be more proud. I am really looking forward to our next chapter when we introduce the show to new audiences around the country and beyond."
Lee Hall said: "The Victoria Palace has been Billy Elliot's home for eleven years and, after the film, was an incredible place to start our theatrical journey. Our show has become so much bigger than anything I could have imagined and what has been particularly gratifying is to hear how many people have been genuinely inspired by Billy's story. I can't wait to take the show on tour, especially to the North East - it's going to be an extraordinary thing to take Billy's story back to where it started."
Since its world premiere in 2005, the West End production has been honoured with numerous awards including 4 Olivier Awards in 2006, when Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire, the first three boys to play the title role in London, became the youngest performers ever to have won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. The Broadway production was the recipient of 35 theatre awards, including ten Tony Awards in 2009 when David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish jointly won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for their role as Billy Elliot. The Australian production was similarly honoured with multiple awards including Best Musical at the Helpmann Awards, the Sydney Theatre Awards and at the Green Room Awards in Melbourne. Similar awards success followed at the Dora Awards in Toronto, Korea Musical Awards and in the Netherlands where the show as honoured with the award for Best Musical at the Dutch Musical Awards in 2015.
2005 - Original Cast; Photo by David Scheinmann
Billy Elliots 5th BirthdayVictoria Palace Theatre; Photo by Richard Davenport
2011 - Ann Emery; Photo by Alastair Muir
2012 - Kain Edwards, Barnaby Meredith; Photo by Alastair Muir
2013 - Five Billys; Photo by Craig Sugden
2014 - Ruthie Henshall, Brodie Donougher
2014 - Cast
2015 - Deka Walmsley, Euan Garrett