Plans Afoot for International Productions of Billy Elliot — The Musical

News   Plans Afoot for International Productions of Billy Elliot — The Musical
 
Billy Elliot — The Musical, the hit London production nominated for nine Olivier Awards, will soon be seen in countries around the world.

Director Stephen Daldry told London's Guardian that there are currently plans to mount the musical, which is based on the film of the same name and features a score by Elton John, in Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States. "We want to broaden out worldwide," Daldry told the London paper. The director noted that the challenge of the show is to find young boys able to meet the vocal and dancing challenges of the title role. The London production will soon see its first non-white Billy when Matthew Koone, a 12-year-old Asian boy joins the company at the end of the month. Later this year, an 11-year-old black British boy named Layton Williams will join the West End cast. And, the first American Billy — 15-year-old Pennsylvanian Colin Bates — is scheduled to join the London company sometime in 2006.

About the non-traditional casting, Daldry said, "I hope audiences aren't taken aback. Given the talents of these kids, any doubts about their right to be in the show would be swept away. We have open auditions. If the show is about anything, it is about exceptional children. We wouldn't want an exceptional child not to flourish in the show if they were talented."

The London production of Billy Elliot will soon recoup its original investment. The American production is slated for 2007.

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