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Billy Elliot The Musical

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Billy Elliot The Musical#0
Posted: 7/2/05 at 7:21pm
Billy Elliot The Musical

(Victoria Palace Theater, June 2005)

Liam Mower (who just turned 13 on May 13th, 2005) was excellent as 11 year old Billy, a young boy who find out he has a genius for dancing. So does Liam. He was only upstaged by Ryan Longbottom playing his cross-dressing friend Michael.

Liam is a fine ballet dancer, and is featuered in Elton John's music video "Electricity" as found here:

Billy Elliot The Musical

Broadband: http://astream.net/links/eltonjohn/electricity_350.ram
Modem: http://astream.net/links/eltonjohn/electricity_56.ram

Or, for those without RealPlayer: http://entertainment.msn.co.uk/music/musicvideos4/Default.asp#

Having seen the other Billies, it seems clear to me that Liam, on a good day, is by far the better Billy. He has a clear boy soprano voice - and I can only wish it will be him we will be hearing on any forthcoming cast recording. Not without faults, Liam is a ballet dancer that is a joy to the eye. His is a dancer genius, just like his character.

(Do a search for Liam Mower on your own emule, edonkey, or alike, and you will find some very nice pictures and video samples of him.)

Now, to Mr. Longbottom as Michael. Some of his lines are already classics. Imagine, if you will, Michael dressed up to the nines in a dress and make-up, describing his feelings about Billy taking ballet lessons: "F*CKing weird, if you ask me!"

(Yes, there is a lot of cursing, and never, probably, has a young kid gotten away with calling an adult boxing coach "wanker" - a word used, as well, by the pianist at the ballet lesson when meeting Billy - "You look like a little wanker to me." Anyway, it's hilarious, and the morality police will probably throw up or have a fit.)

Back to Ryan Longbottom's Michael. He has a clearer approach to the part than does any of the other boys. When he is at his best he manages to steal the audience away from Liam and takes home the loudest audience reaction after a wonderfully performed tap number that will leave you realizing that we must accept people who cross-dress. Quote from "Expressing Yourself":

"What the hell is wrong with expressing yourself?
Being who you want to be?
Will anybody die if I put on a dress?
Who the hell cares if your blushers a mess?"

Let's put it this way - let us hope we will see much, much more of little Ryan in the years to come. His stage presence is complete.

A picture of Liam and Ryan in action
http://www.balett.net/picture.asp?Id=1344

Here's the ballet class
Billy Elliot The Musical

And, yes, there is some kissing going on. Ryan, playing gay Michael, gives Liam (Billy) a kiss. Later in the play, that kiss is returned. (I guess this will annoy the morality police as well.)

Do you want to see both Ryan and Liam? Don't worry! If you manage to catch Liam, you will see Ryan as they always pair up. How do you know who will play when? You don't! You will have to take chance, and about 45 minutes before the show start you can ask the staff who is playing who. Here, I feel a need to add that the street dancing George Maguire and James Lomas (The other Billies) are excellent as well, but not quite like Liam... Also, here's a soothing thought - if you feel like waiting outside the stage door after the show, both Liam and Ryan will give you an authoraph or shake your hand or just accept your greetings.

As for the story, it is both much darker and funnier than the film. The violence and the anger is much more obvious, as in the incredibly difficult and mad tap number performed by Billy when jumping up against the shields of a police squad where you sense both his inner comflict as well the political conflict of the outside world.

Billy Elliot The Musical

As for the music, it is very well performed. Many songs leave something to wish for, and it seems to me Sir Elton John only gave some thought to a very limited number of songs. But this doesn't matter. The lyrics of Lee Hall are so wonderful and down to earth that they alone can lift your soul and make you want to dance - be yourself - express yourself.

So, it might not be politically correct, but it is intelligent and funny!

----

Here is a small note about the music found at billyelliotthemusical.com - nothing is recorded from the show. The recordings differ from the show when it comes to arrangements, and it is not Liam singing any of them. Will there be a cast recording? Maybe, but first, check out the above links to the "Electricity" video performed by Elton John, Liam Mower, and Isaac James. The single will be released on June 11, 2005 in three formats that you can order from eltonjohn.com. If you wish, you could also listen to a rather lame version of the hilarious song that Billy and Michael performs on the show "Expressing Yourself" - here performed by Sir Elton John:

Broadband: http://www.eltonjohn.com/now/projects/billy_elton_bband.ram
Modem: http://www.eltonjohn.com/now/projects/billy_elton_modem.ram

Will it ever come to Broadway? Some doubt has been heard, and the producers are waiting for reactions from the London audience. It is a very British musical, and some things (not just the dialect) might be hard for Americans to grasp. It would probably suffer a great deal from an americanization where the Thatcher criticism ("Solidarity" and "Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher") is lost.

Also, keep your eyes on this link - http://www.liammower.com

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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#1
Posted: 7/2/05 at 8:36pm
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Updated On: 7/8/05 at 08:36 PM
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#2
Posted: 7/3/05 at 7:51pm
Here is a picture of the three "bairn" playing Michael:

re: Billy Elliot The Musical

Ryan Longbottom, Brad Kavanagh, and Ashley Lloyd
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#3
Posted: 7/4/05 at 11:27am
Wow thanks for all the pictures!
"It's a great feeling of power to be naked in front of people. We're happy to watch actual incredible graphic violence and gore, but as soon as somebody's naked it seems like the public goes a bit bananas about the whole thing."
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#4
Posted: 7/4/05 at 2:55pm
You're welcome. I'll post any good pictures I can get my hands on, and any information that comes into my possession if possible.
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#5
Posted: 7/4/05 at 4:23pm
Here are some pictures of Christopher Parkinson as Billy Elliot, taken during workshop rehearsals at the Old Vic Theatre (August, 2003).
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Here is the company, also from rehearsals at the Old Vic Theatre.
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This is Peter Darling, the choreographer, during rehearsals at the Old Vic Theatre:
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This is the creative team, also from you know where:
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Left to right: Martin Koch (Musical Supervisor); Julian Webber (Associate Director); Elton John (Composer); Stephen Daldry (Director); Lee Hall (Writer); Peter Darling (Choreographer)
This is Stephen Daldry during rehearsals at the American Church in London:
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"Everyone is different,
It's the natural state"

(From "Expressing Yourself" - Billy Elliot the Musical)

Updated On: 7/4/05 at 04:23 PM
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#6
Posted: 7/6/05 at 2:38pm
Here is George Maguire and James Lomas:
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Also, you can book tickets until end of March 2006.
re: Billy Elliot The Musical
Updated On: 7/6/05 at 02:38 PM
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re: Billy Elliot The Musical#7
Posted: 11/13/05 at 1:43pm
Join one of the biggest threads at Broadwayworld.com for news, chat, video links and updates on the original cast recording.

http://westend.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=857212

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Updated On: 11/13/05 at 01:43 PM