New Billy Elliot Star Announced for Australian Production

Daniel Russell, from New South Wales' central coast, has just been announced as the next, and final, actor to star as Billy in Billy Elliot The Musical.

Daniel is 12, and has performed with the Gosford Musical Society in shows like Oliver, Annie Get Your Gun, and Alice in Wonderland. He now joins Dayton Tavares, Josh Waiss-Gates, Joshua Denyer and Michael Dameski, in an elite group of actors who alternate the role of Billy each performance.

Daniel actually first auditioned for the show in 2006, but as he was too young, the producers decided to wait. He'll also be the final Australian actor to play the part of Billy, given that the show won't tour in Australia after its season at HMT.

Billy Elliot the Musical, which features book and lyrics by Lee Hall and a score by Elton John, opened in London in May 2005, where it received glowing reviews, broke UK box office records, and still plays to capacity houses at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The creative team behind the Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated film Billy Elliot, including Hall, Daldry, and choreographer Peter Darling, all worked on adapting the film for the stage.

Press notes state, "Set in the North East of England it is a funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one boy's dreams set against the historic British miners' strike of 1984/85. The story follows the journey of a young boy raised in a small mining town who, after stumbling across a ballet class while on his way to a boxing lesson, realises that his future lays not in the boxing ring, but on stage as a dancer."

Daldry states: "Performing the role of Billy is like playing Hamlet whilst running an Olympic marathon. The creative team have been constantly astounded by the level of talent in Australia and are delighted with the stamina, energy, charisma and total star quality of the four extraordinary young lads who will open the show Down Under."

Billy Elliot the Musical features set design by Ian MacNeil, costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti and music supervision by Martin Koch.

Photo: Peter Clark, Central Coast Express.



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