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Billy Elliot Headed BACK to the Big Screen... Eventually

Baz Bamigboye in the UK Daily Mail spoke with the creative team of BILLY ELLIOT at the show's NY premiere and asked each about the prospect of the film-based stage show going BACK to the big screen.

'It's an idea that has been kicked around and discussed, but the point is it has to be vastly different from the original Billy Elliot film,' said Eric Fellner, co-chair of Working Title, the studio which is the controlling force behind the film that came out in 2000 and the stage production.

'I feel I've finally got it right with regards to stage musicals - and there might be more we can look at, with a film of the show,' Elton told me in New York recently.

Lee Hall, who also wrote the film's screenplay and penned the stage show's lyrics and 'book' said the film of the musical was 'something that's in the ether' and he felt it would be an opportunity to look deeper into what the miners and their families went through during the year-long strike in 1984.

The show's producers insist naturally that it's in the cards, but not anytime in the immediate future due to the immense wordlwide success of the stage show.

The multi-award winning Billy Elliot the Musical opened to rave reviews at Broadway's Imperial Theatre (240 W 45th St) Thursday, November 13th. Featuring music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling, Billy Elliot the Musical began previews Wednesday, October 1st. The show is presented by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Weinstein Live Entertainment, based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal film.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times says that Billy Elliot "Sends audiences into a mass swoon!" Time Out says it's "The most electric and passionate show in years." The Daily News calls Billy "So exhilarating that you feel like leaping!" The New York Post says Billy Elliot is "The best show you will ever see!" Liz Smith calls the show "Absolutely awesome," The New York Observer raves that Billy is "The best thing to happen to Broadway in a long while," and WOR's Dave Richardson cheers, "All I can say is WOW!"

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.

Haydn Gwynne, who created the role of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in the show's original London cast, makes her Broadway debut recreating her Olivier Award-nominated performance; Gregory Jbara plays Dad; Tony winner Carole Shelley plays Grandma; and Santino Fontana plays Tony. Hadyn Gwynne is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association.

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

The original Broadway company also includes Juliette Allen Angelo, Tommy Batchelor, Kevin Bernard, Grady McLeod Bowman, Heather Ann 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, Mitchell Michaliszyn, Matthew Mindler, Tessa Netting, Daniel Oreskes, Jayne Paterson, Liz Pearce, Corrieanne Stein, Jamie Torcellini, Grant Turner and Casey Whyland.

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

For tickets and information, please visit www.BillyElliotBroadway.com

Photo: Elton John by Walter McBride / Retna Ltc.

 


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