John sang four of the 17 songs he’s composed for Billy Elliot and announced that — after a warm-up stint in Newcastle in November 2004 — the musical will open at the Victoria Palace Theatre March 11, 2005. The songs John sang were “Electricity” (Billy’s description of what it feels like to dance), “Expressing Yourself” (about a cross-dressing friend of Billy’s), “Grandma’s Song” and — the big final anthem — “When We Were Kings,” where the miners head to the coal mines as Billy goes to the capital.
Also at the press conference, held at London’s Royal Academy of Music, were Stephen Daldry, the director of both the movie and stage show, and lyricist Lee Hall. The shows producers are Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, co-chairmen of Working Title Films (the outfit behind screen successes “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Elizabeth” and “Billy Elliot”), with the Old Vic’s Sally Greene.
Composer Elton John admitted that he was deeply moved by the movie: “I was sobbing in my seat and had to be carted out by three people.” Hall, meanwhile, said that Billy’s story is, in fact, Elton John’s story. He called John “Billy Elliot grown up.”
While no casting has been announced yet, a full cast list is promised for September. Meanwhile, the technical team has been revealed. Peter Darling will choreograph, with regular Daldry collaborator Ian MacNeil designing, musical supervision by Martin Koch and costumes by Sue Blane.
Tickets for the show in London go on sale June 22 and are priced between £17.50 and £50. For more information, call (0)870 895 5577 or visit www.billyelliotthemusical.com.