The show 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).
Previews were due to begin earlier, but were pushed back to give the 45 children performers a less arduous rehearsal period. So concerned are the producers and director Stephen Daldry about nurturing a continual flow of adolescent talent for what is hoped will be a long run that they have created the Billy Elliot Academy in Leeds, specifically to train young stars for the show.
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 will 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 films including “Love, Actually” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary”) and Old Vic Productions. Daldry, who directed the film, stays on board for the stage version, as does writer Lee Hall. For more information, call (0)870 895 5577.