Billy Elliott

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Billy Elliott#1
Posted: 5/26/15 at 12:52pm

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this musical. For whatever reason, I missed the show on Broadway and even on tour. In March, I had the chance to see it on the West End. It has now become one of my favorite musicals. 


It has been on the West End for over 10 years, and still shows no sign of ending anytime soon. 


I know Billy Elliot won the Tony for best Musical and was on Broadway for 3 years, along with having a successful US tour. So by no means, did it fail in the US. 


However, I am curious as to why it didn't enjoy a longer run in the US. Typically, a show can expect about the same run on Broadway, as it would on the West End. 


The only reason I can see is it strikes the hearts of the British audience much more than the American audience since it is based upon their history. Also, much of the dialogue and lyrics from the show are "British" and sometimes it is hard to understand for an American. Incidentally, Matilda is a British musical, and yet it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. 


Thoughts?


 


 

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Billy Elliott#2
Posted: 5/26/15 at 12:58pm

Overrated but it had it's moments. I can see why it won best musical even though Next to Normal is the superior show. When i saw it in NY I didn't find the Billy to be all that great. The boy could spin but couldn't really do much else. I also didn't like what they did to the Michael character. I prefer the film version of Michael. While it was overrated it seemed to be a huge hit in the states. I'm surprised it's still not running.

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Billy Elliott#2
Posted: 5/26/15 at 1:04pm

I don't remember the musical that well, but I thought that the movie was much more enjoyable and the show cheapened a lot of essential moments from the film.

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Billy Elliott#3
Posted: 5/26/15 at 1:04pm

I absolutely loved it. One of my all time favorite shows I have seen.

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Billy Elliott#4
Posted: 5/26/15 at 1:22pm

I can see why it won best musical even though Next to Normal is the superior show.


I recently got to see regional productions of both Billy Elliot and Next to Normal presented by North Carolina Theatre. While I think both shows are terrific, I personally found Billy Elliot to be far superior.


I did get to see the Broadway production shortly after it opened as well as the national tour, it is one of my favorite musicals of all time.

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Billy Elliott#5
Posted: 5/26/15 at 1:53pm

Billy Elliott is one of my favorite shows! I saw the touring production the year after it won the Tony.  I would have loved to see on Broadway!  Also last year I saw the West End production that was filmed for the movie theaters. Just a lovely show and very deserving of its Tony!

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Billy Elliott#6
Posted: 5/26/15 at 2:23pm

I thought the show was entertaining, and that's ok with me. However, the film was far superior for me. It had the emotional impact that the show lacked, especially the ending. Although I've seen the film a dozen times, I will still watch the entire thing again, just for that spectacular ending.

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Billy Elliott#7
Posted: 5/26/15 at 3:22pm

It had the emotional impact that the show lacked, especially the ending.


It's funny that you say that, because when I saw the movie, after having seen the show once or twice, I was disappointed in the ending specifically. It just seemed like a predictable, formulaic happy ending that did nothing for me. The ending of the musical is more thought-provoking, forcing you to wonder about the fate of those left in the city after Billy leaves. The movie just answers it directly: everyone turns out great.

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Billy Elliott#8
Posted: 5/26/15 at 3:32pm

 


The ending of that film told us that Billy was able to fulfill his dream. The moments when his father saw his boy soar into the air, and the sudden intake of his breath at that moment made for a powerful impact that I'll never forget. Sorry you missed that.


The show I saw ended with Michael on the stage. I walked out of that theater so disappointed I couldn't wait to see the film again.


"everyone turns out great."


Who said? Writing the sequel, are ya?

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Billy Elliott#9
Posted: 5/26/15 at 3:44pm

I think it is one of the best shows ever made. To me it's what theatre is about, tears in my eyes at one moment, and laughing through my tears the next moment. The dialogues are written in a very clever way, the story is strong, the emotions the characters experience are very recognizable to me and I love the way the music supports the story.


I love the serious tone of the show.


I do think that the casting of the roles of Billy, Mrs Wilkinson, father, Michael and grandma is very important. I have seen the show on Broadway, London and recently in Holland and in that order they went from bad to good. The boy who played Billy in Holland sang like an angel and had me in tears almost at his first scenes. 


 


 

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Billy Elliott#10
Posted: 5/26/15 at 3:45pm


The ending of that film told us that Billy was able to fulfill his dream. The moments when his father saw his boy soar into the air, and the sudden intake of his breath at that moment made for a powerful impact that I'll never forget. Sorry you missed that.
The show I saw ended with Michael on the stage. I walked out of that theater so disappointed I couldn't wait to see the film again.
"everyone turns out great."
Who said? Writing the sequel, are ya?"


I agree with this. I liked the musical more, because of the music and the dancing. The movie was lacking in this regard, although I believe the movie told the story better. 


The ending in the movie was much better with Billy staring in a show and performing in front of his father and Michael.  It was a complete ending to the story. 


With the the musical, it didn't show Billy becoming a successful performer other than simply going to Ballet School. You left the theater wondering what happened to Billy once he went to Ballet School. 


 


 


 

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Billy Elliott#11
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:08pm

Who said? Writing the sequel, are ya?


Ha! Well, I exaggerated a bit, but we certainly know a lot more about several characters' fate than we do from the musical. I guess it's a matter of taste as to whether that's a good thing or not.

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Billy Elliott#12
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:13pm

"
The ending of that film told us that Billy was able to fulfill his dream. The moments when his father saw his boy soar into the air, and the sudden intake of his breath at that moment made for a powerful impact that I'll never forget. Sorry you missed that.
The show I saw ended with Michael on the stage. I walked out of that theater so disappointed I couldn't wait to see the film again.
"everyone turns out great."
Who said? Writing the sequel, are ya?"

I agree with this. I liked the musical more, because of the music and the dancing. The movie was lacking in this regard, although I believe the movie told the story better. 
The ending in the movie was much better with Billy staring in a show and performing in front of his father and Michael.  It was a complete ending to the story. 
With the the musical, it didn't show Billy becoming a successful performer other than simply going to Ballet School. You left the theater wondering what happened to Billy once he went to Ballet School. 
 
 
 "


 


I love the musical ending more because it's heartbreaking that Michael is going to miss his friend while he stands there with his bike, and Billy walks away into the distance with his suitcase, starting an unknown life/adventure, it really emphasizes the point of the show, how Billy is a lost child and tries to find his way in life. It makes you feel more for him than the standard Cinderella story.


 

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Billy Elliott#13
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:21pm

"it really emphasizes the point of the show, how Billy is a lost child and tries to find his way in life. It makes you feel more for him than the standard Cinderella stor


Poor Michael is left at home with his bike while Billy walks off with a suitcase. Not the point at all.


The point is so much more profound. Did you  miss the addressing of a gay stereotype, did you miss the politics going on in the country (which was a main theme to this story), did you miss the beauty of succeeding if you try hard enough? Did you miss the pain of a young son leaving home? Not quite Cinderella.


Apparently you missed all that or saw a different show. 

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Billy Elliott#14
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:24pm

""it really emphasizes the point of the show, how Billy is a lost child and tries to find his way in life. It makes you feel more for him than the standard Cinderella stor
Poor Michael is left at home with his bike while Billy walks off with a suitcase. Not the point at all.
The point is so much more profound. Did you  miss the addressing of a gay stereotype, did you miss the politics going on in the country (which was a main theme to this story), did you miss the beauty of succeeding if you try hard enough? Did you miss the pain of a young son leaving home? Not quite Cinderella.
Apparently you missed all that or saw a different show. "


All the points you mention is what I love about the show. Therefore I don't like the Cinderella film ending. We are talking about the ending here.


The musical ending is much more bittersweet. It fits better with the rest of the show, because of the things you mention.


 

Updated On: 5/26/15 at 05:24 PM
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Billy Elliott#15
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:32pm

All I can say is that I'm sorry you saw a Cinderella ending.

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Billy Elliott#16
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:40pm

Billy Elliot is one of my favorite shows. After having seen the original movie, I felt that it was missing something.  I thought the musical was a lot more developed. I know some complaints arise from the ambiguous ending, but a lot of the film's fans disliked the movie's ending too (too much of a happy ending; many would have preferred it to be ambiguous).  


As for why it ended after only three years on Broadway, it's just a simple fact:  money. The show had extremely high running costs: large children's ensemble; three-to-four boys rotating the lead role; two boys in the supporting role; the costs of tutoring and wranglers; and the Billy School, which was non-stop training for current and future Billys. And while the West End production has the same type of issues, the West End salaries are nowhere near the level that they are on Broadway.


 

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Billy Elliott#17
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:46pm

"but a lot of the film's fans disliked the movie's ending too (too much of a happy ending"


Oh god forbid it should have a happy ending! After the sad backstory, it was necessary and done expertly.


, "but a lot of the film's fans disliked the movie's ending"


p.s. A lot of the film's fans loved the movie's ending. And a lot of the show's fan's disliked the show's ending.


 

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Updated On: 5/26/15 at 05:46 PM
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Billy Elliott#18
Posted: 5/26/15 at 5:59pm

Billy Elliot is one of the best musicals ever written. The score, choreography, and book are amazing. I also have a personal attachment because of the gay themes. It's so innocent and cute. There isn't any stories that focus in kids like the way they do straight kids in the aspect of innocent crushes and stuff like that. He just wants to dance LEAVE HIM ALONE!

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Billy Elliott#19
Posted: 5/26/15 at 6:02pm

" As for why it ended after only three years on Broadway, it's just a simple fact:  money. The show had extremely high running costs: large children's ensemble; three-to-four boys rotating the lead role; two boys in the supporting role; the costs of tutoring and wranglers; and the Billy School, which was non-stop training for current and future Billys. And while the West End production has the same type of issues, the West End salaries are nowhere near the level that they are on Broadway.
 "


Definitely I can see that. I am actually suprised that Matilda is going on tour. I can only imagine the costs of taking that show on tour with all of the children involved, not including standbys and etc. I guess where Matilda saves money is not having to train actors to perform to the level of Billy Elliott. 

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Billy Elliott#20
Posted: 5/26/15 at 6:24pm

I have it to say, I wanted to like it a lot more than I did when I saw it on Broadway. I thought it had very emotionally impactful moments, but as a whole I was more underwhelmed than I expected to be. Maybe my expectations were too high? I think Next to Normal is a far better constructed show. 

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Billy Elliott#21
Posted: 5/26/15 at 8:40pm

I saw it in London and really liked it.  I enjoyed it more than the movie actually.  It left a lingering impression on me more than the movie did.


It's not necessarily my favorite, but I left the theater totally impressed by what I had seen.


The young man was very talented and the way the show ended I thought was very effective.  Very emotional.

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Billy Elliott#22
Posted: 5/26/15 at 9:46pm

This is a theater board so I'm not surprised most posts are pro the show.


I'm not going to look for a film board but I'm sure it would be reversed.


Doesn't matter, I can watch the film anytime I feel like!Billy Elliott

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Billy Elliott#23
Posted: 5/26/15 at 11:08pm

I always thought the movie ending was too literal and distorted the focus of the film. It really isn't about dancing or being successful. It is really about Billy's way out of a dying community and how that community realizes they must rally around the boy to help him to escape their fate. Whether Billy becomes a successful dancer is irrelevant; he has escaped that community, and his best friend Michael has not. I much prefer the bittersweet ending to the stage musical, where the last thing we see is Billy leaving for the Royal Ballet School and Michael sitting on his bike watching him go. The last lines, "See ya, Michael." Yeah, See ya, Billy." are so sad because we know they will not be seeing each other. Billy has made it out and Michael is stuck where he is, with little future except for mining. Whenever I watch the movie, I always stop it on that tracking shot of the bus Billy is riding in.  That is the perfect place for the film to end.
The fact that the actor playing older BIlly in the film looks nothing like Jamie Bell is also rather jarring.

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Billy Elliott#24
Posted: 5/26/15 at 11:57pm

That was a very well thought out and written post, Mikey. I do believe you accurately outlined the meaning of the show.


I thought the film took it in a different direction, meaning that dance was a key theme. It focused first that dance is not a sissy thing, and also that Billy's need to dance came from the core of his soul, and yes, the community came together to support him.


 The ending was important because it was the result of all that came before it - yes, the importance of leaving that miserable town and life behind. But the pride that was so expertly shown in the father in the final seconds of the film (thank you to both the actor and director) was stunning. Michael came to see Billy but I didn't necessarily infer that life for him was happily ever after. And I didn't find it so hard to believe that the adult Billy was the young one grown  up, appearance-wise.


As for the theme of the story being not about dance, but about leaving the ccommunity, I think the two are entwined. Billy had to dance from his soul, regardless if it meant leaving that community. He wasn't  doing it for that reason, he was dancing because he had to. In turn, he got to leave and Michael didn't. The ending of the film had such an impact on me because I was able to like and care about Billy to such an extent that I got a thrill seeing him soar on that stage as well as his Dad did.This was much more satisfying an ending for me than to see young Michael and his bike on stage.


 

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Updated On: 5/27/15 at 11:57 PM