"Let's Dance" with Billy Elliott

November 2, 2010 10:06:29 AM PDT
Billy Elliott and his friends have danced their way into Chicago's heart. But they won't be here much longer.

Billy Elliott The Musical will be spending a few more weeks in Chicago before continuing the national tour that originated here. The winner of 10 Tony Awards, the musical http://billyelliottour.com/ will play its final performance at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre on November 28.

When it closes Billy Elliott will have played 37 weeks and 288 performances before nearly 400,000 audience members. The first national tour of Billy Elliot will next be presented in Toronto, beginning Jan. 29, 2011, followed by the San Francisco engagement, which begins Sept. 13, 2011.

As you may know, Billy Elliot, the show that Time Magazine calls "The Best Musical of the Decade," is the story of one boy's journey to make his dreams come true. Set in a small mining town in England, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent that inspires his family and his whole community and changes his life forever. Based on the international smash-hit film, Billy Elliot the Musical is brought to life by the Tony-winning creative team -- director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and writer Lee Hall -- along with music legend Elton John.

Tickets are on sale now for the show's final weeks. Individual tickets range in price from $30 to $100. Rush tickets ($25) go on-sale at 10 a.m. the day of each performance (11 a.m. on Sundays). A minimum of 12 seats to as many as 40 are available at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre box office (24 W. Randolph) only. Additional seats, subject to availability at select performances, may be made available day-of show at the box office or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Limit two (2) tickets per patron; seats are limited view.

Ticket holders who made purchases for performances after November 28 must exchange their tickets by November 7.

Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St. and 18 W. Monroe St.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. For groups of 15 or more, call (312) 977-1710.

For information on Billy Elliot the Musical, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or www.BillyElliotChicago.com

BILLY ELLIOTT THE MUSICAL
Through November 28
Ford Center/Oriental Theatre
24 W. Randolph, Chicago
(800) 775-2000
www.broadwayinchicago.com

From Playbill, Billy Elliot the Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical has been described as a modern-day fairy tale. It is the heartwarming story of a young boy whose life is changed forever when he discovers an unexpected passion for dance.

The story is set against the turbulent background of the 1984-1985 miners' strike in the small mining town of Easington in the North East of England. Billy is naturally expected to become a miner like his brother Tony, his father Jackie and his father's father before him. This particular mining community started in 1899 when industrial leaders sunk a pit, bringing thousands of workers to settle the area and form a relatively tight-knit community. Easington is probably best known for a mining accident on May 29, 1951, when a gas explosion trapped and eventually killed 81 miners.

In Billy Elliot, despite the ravages of the strike, the family scrapes together 50 pence (approximately $0.79) each week for Billy to go to boxing lessons. After boxing one day, when Billy is left to pass the hall keys to the resident dance teacher, the exuberant Mrs. Wilkinson, he finds himself suddenly part of the dance class, connecting with the power of the music which, quite literally, moves him in a way that he would never previously have thought possible.

Billy secretly begins to go to ballet classes, unable to tell his family who would never understand. Boys do boxing not ballet, after all. The only person who Billy does confide in is his friend Michael, who is happy to listen in between dressing up in his sister's dresses, a pastime he can explain away very simply: "Me dad does it all the time."

Sparks fly when Billy's dad, Jackie Elliot, discovers that his son has been frittering away his hard earned money on ballet instead of boxing. Nevertheless, Billy takes up Mrs. Wilkinson's secret offer of free private classes in preparation for an audition for the Royal Ballet School.

The strike, meanwhile, is getting more and more heated. There are pitched battles between the police and the miners that split friends and spur Tony Elliot, Billy's older brother, to take the law into his own hands, as he raids his father's toolbox for a weapon to use against the police. However, when Jackie Elliot unexpectedly stumbles upon Billy expressing his deepest emotions through dance, he is suddenly struck by how talented his son is, and heads off to see Mrs. Wilkinson to find out more about the audition.

"Going back to work to earn travel money for the trip to London..." It may mean breaking the strike, but Jackie is determined. In the pit communities, solidarity is the watchword and Tony and the strikers agree to pool together what little money they have to help Billy go to London and audition. Money from a strike breaker (a 'scab') is unwelcome, but it makes the difference and Billy and Jackie head to the bright lights of London.

This is the story of a young boy who reaches beyond "his place in the world" to follow his heart's desire and fight for his dreams.

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

JOHN PETER VIERNES (Billy). Raised in Half Moon Bay, CA. Inspired by his sister, J.P. began dancing at the age of seven with the Shely Pack Dancers. Studied at City Ballet San Francisco for 2 years. Winner of national and regional dance titles under the direction of Shely Pack Manning. Played "Jerome" in South Pacific (Coastal Repertory Theater, CA).

DILLON STEVENS (Michael). Dillon is 13 years old, from China Grove, NC. He enjoys tap and hip-hop. Dillon was "discovered" by a New York Older Billy at a dance competition.


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