Monday, December 24, 2007

Billy Elliot, the musical

The musical Billy Elliot, Music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is fabulous.

Sorry. I'm trying to get into this London thing. They do swear a lot here.

I'm glad I bought the program for Billy Elliot because it includes the charming story of the finding of Billy. For a movie one needs only one boy and one or two stunt doubles, but for a musical that runs every night and sometimes in the afternoon you need three boys who must each dance like gods to play the role in rotation. Each has to seem like an ordinary boy from the north, be able to act, do tap dancing and ballet when required, and carry a full length musical. They went out into the countryside auditioning and training children. It's fascinating to read.

Billy pretends to study boxing when in reality he is in a class of all girls learning ballet. To make a long story short, he is admitted to the royal ballet school and goes off to live in London, leaving his old life behind.

The life he is leaving forms the other half of the story. The miners, including his father and brother, are on strike. This brings a lot of rough, masculine music into the piece to balance the dance music. Margaret Thatcher is a popular target.

There is a gay character named Michael, and there has been some complaining. It is Elton John, you know. It was something silly to do and made me laugh.

It ends down. Billy goes off to London and the strike is lost. They solve this with a coda where everyone dances, and eventually everyone is wearing a tutu, including Billy.

The songs are really pretty good. It's very British and bloody marvelous. Maybe it will hop the pond one of these days.


Anonymous said...

are you familiar with the movie? It's great.

Merry Christmas!


Dr.B said...

I read on the internet that they are auditioning boys for a New York production next September.