New Billy Elliot Joins Elton John's West End Musical

News   New Billy Elliot Joins Elton John's West End Musical Billy will be a new kid at some performances of Billy Elliot — The Musical beginning Sept. 19.
Leon Cooke
Leon Cooke Photo by David Scheinmann

That’s the date when 14 year-old Leon Cooke joins the cast of the show at London’s Victoria Palace. Cooke is a graduate of the Billy Elliot Academy, which was set up by the show’s producers specifically to train new child stars for the musical. Cook, a Newcastle resident, will be joined by a new cast of ballet girls and 13-year-old Joey Philips as the new Michael.

In a press statement, Cooke said that his ambition “is to be as good as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Angela Corella from American Ballet Theatre . . . When my sister Zena took me for the first audition in Manchester I had no idea that I would get through.”

Philips adds, “Music has always been played in my house and when I was little I used to try and make up dances.” He has appeared in amateur productions of Oliver and Les Misérables.

Still in the cast will be alternating Billys Liam Mower and George Maguire, as well as adult actors Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Tim Healy as Dad and Ann Emery as Grandma. The producers are Working Title and Old Vic Productions.

A huge box-office hit, the show has been seen by more than 250,000 people since opening in March 2005. It is currently booking through April 1, 2006. There are currently no plans for another press night to review the new cast members.

The show is written by Lee Hall with music by Elton John. Stephen Daldry who, alongside Hall, was behind the award-winning film version, directs.

For more information, call (0)870 895 5577 or visit www.billyelliotthemusical.com.