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Toronto's BILLY ELLIOT Welcomes Julian Elia, David Keeley et al. this Summer


Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Weinstein Live Entertainment - have announced today that there are some new additions to the Toronto cast of BILLY ELLIOT, now in its fifth month at the Canon Theatre. Over the coming weeks, five Canadian actors will join the cast, three in major roles.

New in the role of Billy will be Julian Elia, a 12-year-old dancer from Markham, Ontario. Julian joins fellow Canadians Myles Erlick, of Burlington, and Ty Forhan, of Newmarket, as the third Canadian among the four boys who alternate the title role.

In the role of Billy's dad will be David Keeley, one of Canada's finest musical theatre actors who starred as the "rocked-out hippie" Dennis Dupree in last season's Rock of Ages at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and also starred as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia! at the same venue (a role he repeated in the show's Broadway premiere). David's is a well-known face on Canadian stages, with credits ranging from the North American premiere of Brad Fraser's True Love Lies to numerous seasons at the Stratford Festival - where he was seen in Hamlet, Richard III, Oklahoma, Fuente Ovejuna and Trojan Women - to Tuesdays With Morrie, with Jamie Farr, and his Dora Award-winning performance as Officer Lockstock in Urinetown. David's television roles include guest-starring appearances in XIII, Rookie Blue, Mud Pit, Lost Girl, Turn The Beat Around, At Risk, Hotel, Due South and Code Name Eternity.

New in the role of TONY, Billy's older brother, will be Jake Epstein. A graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada, Jake is probably best known for starring on television in Degrassi: The Next Generation (Gemini Award) and on stage in Spring Awakening (U.S. National Tour). Other theatre credits include Dani Girl (World Premiere, Talk Is Free Theatre), Beauty And The Beast and Cinderella (Ross Petty Productions), Dog Sees God (Rubinoff Productions), Dangerous Liaisons (Segal Centre) and Oliver! (Mirvish Productions). His Film/TV credits also include Jesus Henry Christ (with Toni Collette), Living In Your Car (HBO), My Babysitter's A Vampire (Teletoon), Being Erica (CBC), Charlie Bartlett (with Robert Downey Jr.) and The Zack Files (YTV).

The role of Mr. Braithwaite, the piano player for Mrs. Wilkinson's ballet class, where Billy finds his talent, will now belong to Salvatore Scozzari, a member of the original, North American premiere cast of Mamma Mia! at the Royal Alexandra Theatre! Sal also spent two seasons with the Stratford Festival and toured both the U.S., with Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (starring Donny Osmond), and the world with The Overcoat.

Joining the BILLY ELLIOT ensemble is Torontonian (and transplanted Newfoundlander) Jillian Rees-Brown. Jillian's other favourite live performances include Shirley Valentine; Alice in Sexy Laundry; Theatre Beyond Words' international tours of Potato People and The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures; and as Magenta in Toronto's first professional production of The Rocky Horror Show. In film and television, she has worked with Academy Award-winning director Tony Bill as Mrs. Hershel Gaw in Harlan County (starring Holly Hunter), as Billie in The One That Got Away and as Bambi, a dancing phone operator, in Blues Brothers 2000. Since 1997, she has been a member of the a cappella folk trio Daughters Of The Rock - "ambassadors of Newfoundland and Labrador culture."

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL began performances in Toronto on February 1, 2011 and officially opened on March 1. From the very first performance, Toronto audiences have embraced this show, lavishing the performers with standing ovations at every single curtain call (and standing ovations at certain points in the middle of the show, as well).

The critics have been equally enthusiastic about the production.

The Toronto Star's Richard Ouzounian raved, "When an audience leaps to their feet cheering in the middle of a show's second act, then you know something extraordinary is happening... Billy Elliot gives us tremendous excitement, enormous joy and deeply felt emotion... I promise you that this is an evening of theatre you will never forget!"

J. Kelly Nestruck in the Globe and Mail wrote, "Entertaining to the max! Nothing less than a triumph!"

And in Now Magazine, critic Glenn Sumi declared Billy Elliot "the best new musicals of the millennium!"

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL is the winner of ten 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry. BILLY ELLIOT is the joyous celebration of one boy's journey to make his dreams come true. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent that inspires his family and his whole community and changes his life forever.

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, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, with lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL is the winner of 76 international awards, including ten Tony Awards (2009).

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