Haydn Gwynne in Negotiations to Play Billy Elliot Teacher

News   Haydn Gwynne in Negotiations to Play Billy Elliot Teacher
The Daily Mail reports that actress Haydn Gwynne is in negotiations to land one of the most sought-after female roles on the London stage — that of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in Elton John’s Billy Elliot—The Musical.

The news follows the official announcement that the show has found three boys to alternate the title role.

Many fans of the 2000 film have been hoping that Julie Walters, who created the part on the big screen, might be enticed to the stage production, but the Mail claims that Gwynne is now the favorite. Gwynne has her own supporters, thanks to leads in popular British TV programs“Mersey Beat,” “Drop the Dead Donkey” and “Peak Practice.” She also has a stage pedigree, having appeared in the London production of Cy Coleman’s City of Angels.

If the deal is signed, Gwynne will join James Lomas, George McGuire and Liam Mower, who will play the pubescent prancer.

The first night is scheduled for March 24, 2005, with a press night set for May 11. Three press nights are now promised, one for each boy — because the show will be subtly altered for each of the child actors. Director Stephen Daldry has said that the choreography will be individually tailored to each Billy, and John may even write them different songs.

The story of Billy Elliot is set in the North East of England during the miner's strike of the 1980's. The eponymous hero is a sensitive young boy who discovers a talent for ballet. Billy is the only child of a single parent, a macho father who believes that dancing is for girls and that boys are better suited to boxing. "Billy Elliot—The Musical is the most complex and challenging production I have ever undertaken," said Daldry (who also directed the film) earlier in 2004. For more information, call (0)870 895 5577.

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