The unusual source of this news? Posters that have popped up in Shubert Alley, in the Times Square theatre district. Showing a dungaree-wearing Billy leaping for joy, the poster proclaims: "BILLY. BROADWAY. 09.17.08."
No casting or official opening night are public yet. A search has been ongoing for the triple-threat lads who will alternate in the role of the working-class boy with dreams of ballet stardom. The musical is a London sensation (at the Victoria Palace Theatre), hailed as composer Elton John's most mature writing for the musical theatre (following The Lion King, Aida and Lestat). A Sydney production is also in the works for January 2008.
As early as fall 2006, a call went out seeking boys to play the roles of Billy and Michael in the Broadway bow of the musical. (See www.bebilly.com.)
The tale is set in England's Northeast against the background of a miners' strike. The musical concerns a working-class boy's dream of becoming a ballet dancer Ñ and the obstacles and advocates he encounters. Billy Elliot features choreography by Peter Darling, scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Producers are Universal Pictures, Working Title & Old Vic Productions and Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene. Angela Morrison and David Furnish are executive producers.
The London production won Best New Musical at the 2006 Olivier Awards. Peter Darling picked up the Best Theatre Choreographer Award, while the Best Actor in a Musical Award was shared by James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower, who originated the title role.
A London cast album is in stores. For more information, visit www.billyelliotthemusical.com.