Billy Elliot the Musical

Previewed 31 March 2005, Opened 11 May 2005, Closed 9 April 2016 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London

The acclaimed stage musical adaptation of the film Billy Elliot in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre featuring songs composed by Elton John - now in it's tenth year!

Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one young boy's dream in a gripping tale of triumph over adversity. Adapted for the stage from one of the most adored British films of the last decade. The extraordinary movie - written by Lee Hall, directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling - has been developed for the stage by the same multi-award winning creative team. The score for the stage show has been composed by Elton John. The original story captured the hearts and minds of the world when the movie was released in October 2000. Nominated for 3 Oscar's and 13 Bafta awards this poignant film broke box office records across the world.

Please note that, like the film, Billy Elliot the Musical contains strong language as well as some scenes of confrontation between policemen and miners. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, when booking tickets for parties including children, please consider the film version of Billy Elliot which as a rating of '15' and whether this would be suitable for all members of your party. The producers of Billy Elliot The Musical recommend a minimum age of eight years old.

Musical with music and lyrics by Elton John, and book by Lee Hall, based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot with screenplay by Lee Hall.

The original cast from Thursday 31 March 2005 to Saturday 3 December 2005 featured Haydn Gwynne as 'Mrs Wilkinson', Tim Healy as 'Dad', Joe Caffrey as 'Tony', Ann Emery as 'Grandma', Trevor Fox as 'George', Steve Elias as 'Mr Braithwaite', Stephanie Putson as 'Dead Mum', and Issac James as 'Billy's Older Self', with Daniel Coll, Erica Ann Deakin, Alex Delamere, Damien Delaney, Susan Fay, Alan Forrester, Chris Hornby Gillian Kirkpatrick, Chris Lennon, David Massey, Michelle McAvoy, Karl Morgan, Daniel Page, Steve Paget, Lee Proud, Mike Scott, Phil Snowden, and Tessa Worsley.

The original cast also featured Liam Mower, James Lomas, and George Maguire sharing the title role of 'Billy Elliot'; Ryan Longbottom, Ashley Lloyd, and Brad Kavanagh sharing the role of 'Michael Caffrey'; and Lucy Stephenson, Emma Hudson, and Brooke Havana Bailey sharing the role of 'Debbie Wilkinson'.

Anne Rodgers was originally announced to play the role of 'Grandma', but five weeks before public previews where due to start she withdrew from the production - reportedly this was because she was unhappy with her role being reduced in order to shorten the running time and 'tighten' the show.

Directed by Stephen Daldry, with choreography by Peter Darling, sets by Ian MacNeil, costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, and choreography by Peter Darling.

This show was due to begin public previews 24 March 2005, but this was delayed until 31 March 2005. During the preview period the performance schedule was reduced to either four or three performances each week. The Opening date remained the same, and starting the week the show opened, it started to play a standard eight performances-a-week schedule of Monday to Saturday evenings, with matinees on Thursday and Saturday.

When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian said that although "turning small-scale movies into big musicals is a treacherous business... Billy Elliot succeeds brilliantly because Elton John's music and, especially, Peter Darling's choreography enhance Lee Hall's cinematic concept. The musical, even more than the film, counterpoints Billy's personal triumph with the community's decline," adding that "Stephen Daldry's production is a model of fluidity and intelligence." Sheridan Morley in the Daily Express thought that while "the history of Hollywood is littered with bad films made of great stage musicals - what makes Billy Elliot unique is that the production team has taken a medium movie and turned it into the best British musical of the decade... it will probably run for ever in the West End" while in the Independent Paul Taylor hailed it as being an "exhilarating production... funny, touching and shamelessly enjoyable," aided by "Peter Darling’s witty and constantly inventive choreography." Peter Willis in the Daily Mirror exclaimed that "Billy Elliot has it all - dark realism, hilarious comedy and truly heart-tugging ballads" and finishing up by saying that "in the end, Billy triumphs. And so does this musical. With its message of tolerance, it's sure to be hailed as the best British musical since 'Oliver!'." In the Times Benedict Nightingale described how "together, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall have concocted a piece that's tougher, bolder and more moving than its admittedly admirable celluloid precursor... a show filled with passion: for a community, for the rights of the individual and, above all, for the dance." Alastair Macaulay in the Financial Times thought that "Elton John's music is too often formulaic but about half of this show achieves dramatic poetry of a kind rare in any kind of theatre." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said that "Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen... there is a rawness, a warm humour and a sheer humanity here that is worlds removed from the soulless slickness of most musicals" while "the emotion always seems real and spontaneous, rather than cunningly manipulated to pull at the heartstrings" so that "one leaves this triumphant production in a mist of tears and joy."

Elton John, who wrote the music for this stage production said: "I am extraordinarily proud of what Lee Hall and I have created for the stage musical of Billy Elliot. The show demonstrates everything I love about the power of art. It can inspire you. It can transform lives. Art can make you look at life in a way you never have before. And it can take you places well beyond your wildest dreams." Lee Hall, who wrote the book and lyrics said: "If Billy Elliot is about one thing it is that we are all capable of making lives for ourselves which are full of joy and self-expression, whilst we might not all become ballet dancers we are capable of finding moments of real profundity and creativity whatever our circumstances. But more than that we have a duty to ourselves and each other to create a society where this possibility in all of us is nurtured and can flourish. We owe it to the next generation to create a world where it is possible for the Billy Elliots as yet unborn to have a chance to succeed and flourish rather than be fed to the machine which grinds us into identical pieces only fit for consumption. If Billy Elliot conveys any message at all 1 hope it is that it is possible to fight back and resist and it is possible to move on without forgetting where you come from."

The cast from Monday 5 December 2005 to Saturday 29 November 2008 featured Haydn Gwynne as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (up to Saturday 3 June 2006), Sally Dexter as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (from Monday 5 June 2006 to Saturday 2 June 2007), Jackie Clune as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (from Monday 4 June 2007 to Saturday 22 November 2008), Kate Graham as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (from Monday 24 November 2008), Philip Whitchurch as 'Dad' (up to Saturday 2 December 2006, and from Monday 2 June 2008), James Gaddas as 'Dad' (from Monday 4 December 2006 to Saturday 31 May 2008), Chris Lennon as 'Tony', Ann Emery as 'Grandma', Paul Broughton as 'George' (up to Saturday 2 December 2006), Trevor Fox as 'George' (from Monday 4 December 2006), Alex Delamere as 'Mr Braithwaite', Stephanie Putson as 'Dead Mum' (up to Saturday 3 June 2006, and from Monday 8 September 2008), Sara Poyzer as 'Dead Mum' (from Monday 5 June 2006 up to Saturday 6 September 2008), Issac James as 'Billy's Older Self' (up to Saturday 1 December 2007), and Barnaby Meredith as 'Billy's Older Self' (from Monday 3 December 2007).

The cast from Monday 1 December 2008 to Saturday 27 November 2010 featured Joanna Riding as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (up to Tuesday 23 December 2008 - no performances on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 December 2008 - and from Monday 24 August 2009 to Saturday 29 May 2010), Kate Graham as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (from Friday 26 December 2008 to Saturday 22 August 2009), Genevieve Lemon as 'Mrs Wilkinson' (from Monday 31 May 2010), Joe Caffrey as 'Dad', Craig Gallivan as 'Tony', Ann Emery as 'Grandma', Trevor Fox as 'George' (up to Saturday 29 August 2009), David Nellist as 'George' (from Monday 31 August 2009), Sean Kingsley as 'Mr Braithwaite' (up to Saturday 14 August 2010), Phil Snowden as 'Mr Braithwaite' (from Monday 16 August 2010), Stephanie Putson as 'Dead Mum' (up to Saturday 28 November 2009), Samantha Seager as 'Dead Mum' (from Monday 30 November 2009), and Barnaby Meredith as 'Billy's Older Self'.

The cast from Monday 29 November 2010 to Saturday 12 November 2011 featured Genevieve Lemon as 'Mrs Wilkinson', Martin Marquez as 'Dad', Tom Lorcan as 'Tony', Diane Langton as 'Grandma', Chris McGlade as 'George', Kevin Patricks as 'Mr Braithwaite', Kay Milbourne as 'Dead Mum', and Barnaby Meredith as 'Billy's Older Self'.

The cast from Monday 14 November 2011 to Saturday 11 May 2013 featured Gillian Bevan as 'Mrs Wilkinson', Deka Walmsley as 'Dad', Michael Pevoy as 'Tony' (up to Saturday 10 November 2012), Killian Donnelly as 'Tony' (from Monday 12 November 2012), Ann Emery as 'Grandma', Sean Kearns as 'George', Simon Ray Harvey as 'Mr Braithwaite', Kay Milbourne as 'Dead Mum', and Barnaby Meredith as 'Billy's Older Self'.

The cast from Monday 13 May 2013 to Saturday 10 May 2014 featured Anna-Jane Casey as 'Mrs Wilkinson', Deka Walmsley as 'Dad', Kevin Wathen as 'Tony', Ann Emery as 'Grandma', Howard Crossley as 'George', Simon Ray Harvey as 'Mr Braithwaite', Kay Milbourne as 'Dead Mum', and Alexander Loxton as 'Billy's Older Self'.

The cast from Monday 12 May 2014 to Saturday 9 April 2016 featured Ruthie Henshall as 'Mrs Wilkinson', Deka Walmsley as 'Dad', Chris Grahamson as 'Tony' (up to Saturday 14 November 2015), Matthew Seadon-Young as 'Tony' (from Monday 16 November 2015), Ann Emery as 'Grandma' (up to Saturday 8 November 2014, Gillian Elisa as 'Grandma' (from Monday 10 November 2016), Howard Crossley as 'George', David Muscat as 'Mr Braithwaite' (up to Saturday 16 May 2015), Phil Snowden as 'Mr Braithwaite' (from Monday 18 May 2015), Claudia Bradley as 'Dead Mum', Barnaby Meredith as 'Billy's Older Self' (up to Saturday 16 May 2015), and James Butcher as 'Billy's Older Self' (from Monday 18 May 2015).

A Live version of the musical was filmed at a special matinee performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre on Sunday 28 September 2014, with the above cast, with the exception of Liam Mower - one of the original 2005 Billy Elliots - who played the role of 'Billy's Older Self'.

Unfortunately, due to a bad back, 84-year-old Ann Emery who was playing the role of 'Grandma', was forced to withdraw from this production. Although it is believed that her last performace was on Saturday 8 November 2014, following which her 'alternate' Gillian Elisa played the role, the official announcement regarding Emery's departure was not made until Tuesday 7 January 2015.

"Recent big musicals - Mary Poppins and The Producers - rely on razzle-dazzle, Daldry and the choreographer, Peter Darling, have made set pieces in keeping with the world they are creating... The performances are equally intimate and culturally specific... Ultimately, however, a musical stands or falls on its songs, and Billy Elliot lacks the memorable melodies and unforgettable lyrics to propel it into the all-singing Hall of Fame." The Sunday Times

"Only rarely does a show explode on to the stage with such originality that it changes the face of theatre for ever. Director Stephen Daldry and writer Lee Hall - he's responsible for the script and lyrics to Sir Elton John's atmospheric musical score - have done what few believed was possible. They have actually improved on their hugely successful film. Having already danced his way into movie history, Billy Elliot now whirls, taps and pirouettes into our hearts. Set during the miners' strike of 1984, the story of Billy's battle from the deprived North East to London's Royal Ballet School is heavily political - Maggie Thatcher gets a wicked seeing-to in one memorable number. And that's not the only difference between this and the conventional stage musical. Forget glamorous high-stepping chorus lines, here we have strapping miners and burly policemen dancing with dumbfounding energy to Peter Darling's revolutionary choreography. And what other musical has leading characters like Billy's dad, an ageing disillusioned pit-man who thinks ballet is for cissies, and Mrs Wilkinson, the cynical dance teacher with an unhappy home life but a gimlet eye for the talent in a young boy's feet?... No matter which of the Billy Elliots you catch - three lads will share the role - I'll bet the show is just as sensational at every performance. So don't delay - grab your tap shoes and dance on down to Victoria." The Sun

"Stephen Daldry's passionate new musical version, a work of fabulous flair and tremendous talent... is darker, grittier, much funnier and more moving than the film... In essence, this is a story about the transforming power of art, about daring to express yourself, about nurturing talent... This heart stopping show is a must-see." The Mail on Sunday

"Although at times the action on-stage looks more like milling about than dancing, the choreography enriches the play with bold visual metaphors that pit the artist as individual against the values of community. At the end of the first act, Billy throws himself against a wall of riot shields, but as the scene continues the police start to seem imprisoned behind a wall of their own making while Billy dances free... What you get with Billy Elliot The Musical is bucketloads of that old razzle-dazzle. You get uplifting lyrics, chubby miners fluttering in the air like flying hippos, panto, sentimentality, and plenty of belly laughs. Above all, you get the children, who are extraordinary... What you don't get though is that big extra something the word 'musical' should add. Elton John's score fails to deliver any memorable songs or the mesh of wonderful music that knits together the greatest musicals. But if Billy Elliot is not one of the great musicals, it's challenging and enjoyable viewing." The Sunday Telegraph

Billy Elliot the Musical in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre previewed from 31 March 2005, opened on 11 May 2005 and closed on 9 April 2016