They say curiosity killed the cat…but that’s not the case here. I’ll tell you what I mean. Have you wondered where the idea for the story BILLY ELLIOT originated from, where it originally premiered or even how the work has been awarded critically? If you’re like me, the answer to one or all of those questions will be “YES”. I’m hoping that you’re curious to know more about the show before you come because I would love to share the answers our dramaturg Colby has researched. P.S Your curiosity won’t harm you here. So let’s do it.
(Screenwriter) Lee Hall grew up in an industrial town much like the one featured in BILLY ELLIOT. In his youth, he felt that he, like his father, may fall into the same repetition of working a common and humble job, much like the one the coal miners were fighting (and striking) for. But he discovered poetry in books, and music in pop culture. He learned he could be different. He attended Cambridge University, and would go on to express his journey of salvation and of finding creativity in a grey world through a screenplay for a new film.
His theatrical friend and colleague, Stephen Daldry- the Broadway director of BILLY ELLIOT- would go on to read the script and realize almost instantly that Hall had struck gold.
Here: Elton, Lee, and Stephen discuss how the stage effect of BILLY ELLIOT brings out so many qualities of the story that the screen version was unable to include.
BILLY ELLIOT premiered in London’s West End at the Victoria Palace Theater on May 11, 2005 after a month of previews. In its premiere season, it took home four Olivier Awards, which are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre to recognize excellence in professional theatre. One of those Olivier Awards was for Best New Musical. For the first time in a while, London was able to come to the theatre and relive a darker part of history with an interesting universal message at its heart. The story and foundation of BILLY ELLIOT works so well not because it is just about a boy who wants to dance during the Coal Miner’s strike, but because it is about how we as humans are able to find self- expression and creative freedom in our own lives amidst such hardship. This piece of theatre has now romanced audiences in Australia as well as the United States. The Broadway premiere of the musical in 2008 earned fifteen Tony Award nominations and won ten. A major revival has yet to occur, as the original London production is still running strong as of 2015.
Here: BILLY ELLIOT The Musical performs Electricity at the Olivier Awards 2015
Material in this blog was gathered by BILLY ELLIOT Dramaturg Colby Frederick. His sources are below:
Hall, Lee. Adaptation-Billy Elliot The Musical. Billy Elliot The Musical Official London Site. BillyLondonLimited, 2011. Web. 20 July 2015.
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