Box-office can expect to be further bolstered in July 2005, when Elton John, the show’s composer, releases his new single, a song from the show, “Electricity.”
The song comes near the end, when Billy describes what it feels like when he dances. “I can’t really explain it,” sings Billy in Lee Hall’s lyrics. “It’s a feeling you can’t control, I suppose it’s like forgetting, losing who you are, and at the same time something makes you whole.” In a program note, John writes that this song catches his own feelings about performance: “I’m often asked to describe how I write melodies and . . . ['Electricity'] comes very close to summing it up for me.”
The show opened at London's Victoria Palace Theatre May 11, after a long preview period (it began March 31) during which it reportedly underwent a host of changes. Three alternating boys play the title role, Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire.
The stage adaptation of the successful 2000 film — about a boy who learns ballet against the wishes of his father and brother — sees a return to the West End for Elton John, who previously composed the songs for Disney’s The Lion King (still running at the Lyceum) and Aida (which never made it to London but played Broadway and elsewhere).
The full cast features Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Joe Caffrey as Tony, Steve Elias as Mr. Braithwaite, Trevor Fox as George, Tim Healy as Dad, Ann Emery as Grandma and Stephanie Putson as Mum. Brooke Havana Bailey, Emma Hudson and Lucy Stephenson share the role of Debbie, and Brad Kavanagh, Ashley Lloyd and Ryan Longbottom rotate in the role of Michael. The ensemble comprises Daniel Coll, Erica Ann Deakin, Alex Delamere, Damien Delaney, Susan Fay, Alan Forrester, Isaac James, Gillian Kirkpatrick, Chris Lennon, David Massey, Michelle McAvoy, Karl Morgan, Daniel Page, Steve Paget, Lee Proud, Mike Scott, Phil Snowden and Tessa Worsley.
The show is produced by Old Vic Productions and Working Title (the company behind such films as “Love, Actually” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary”). Stephen Daldry, who directed the film, stays on board for the stage version, as does writer Hall. Choreography is by Peter Darling.
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