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BWW Reviews: North Carolina Theatre's BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL

Based on the 2000 British independent film directed by Stephen Daldry, this musical tells the story of Billy Elliot, a young English kid who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. His personal struggle and fulfillment is balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners' strike in County Durham, in North Eastern England.

The musical featuring a score by Grammy award-winning composer Sir Elton John and film scribe Lee Hall first debuted in London's West End on May 11th, 2005, where it went on to win 4 Laurence Olivier Awards (including Best New Musical). The show still continues to run in London to this day. It has since spawned many more productions around the world, including an acclaimed Broadway production which ran for over three years, winning 10 Tony Awards (including Best Musical).

As someone who actually got to see the original Broadway cast, watching this production playing at the North Carolina Theatre through February 15th really reminded me a lot of what a great musical Billy Elliot is. Playwright Lee Hall has brilliantly adapted his own Oscar-Nominated screenplay into a very funny, and very moving theatrical piece that anyone wanting to pursue a career in the arts can relate to! It still remains to be one of the greatest musicals I've ever seen in my life!

The cast here is very top-notch! Charlotte native Sam Faulkner really shines in the title role of Billy Elliot. Standouts include Janet Dickinson as ballet teacher Mrs. Wilkinson; Raleigh native Ira David Wood III is almost unrecognizable as Billy's Dad; Jan Neuberger gives a hilarious performance as Billy's Grandma; Raleigh native Ira David Wood IV as Billy's older brother, Tony; Evan Lennon as Billy's best friend, Michael; McLaurin Hull as Mrs. Wilkinson's daughter, Debbie; Shari Jordan as the ghost of Billy's dead mother; Dick Lumbard as pianoman Mr. Braithwaite; and the entire ensemble of children in the show!

Inventive, yet magnificent staging by director Eric Woodall; Peter Darling's award-winning choreography brilliantly remounted by Adam Pelty; Some amazing lighting designs by Craig Stelzenmuller. The only word that can describe this production of Billy Elliot overall is OUTSTANDING!

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From This Author - Jeffrey Karasarides