Elton John to host a special charity Gala performance of Billy Elliot on 22 November 2006

Elton John to host a special charity Gala performance of Billy Elliot on 22 November 2006

Elton John, is to host a special charity Gala performance of Billy Elliot : The Musical on 22 November 2006 as the musical celebrates with it’s one millionth patron through the doors at the Victoria Palace Theatre. As well as a guest appearance from Sir Elton, Liam Mower - one of the original young boys who created the role of Billy Elliot on stage – will return to play the title role for one night only.

This special Charity Gala, hosted by Sir Elton, is in aid of the Easington Branch of the children’s charity, The Place2Be. BiIly Elliot is set in the North East and is a funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one young boy's dreams. Most of the film was shot in Easington Village where the terraced streets doubled as mining community at the time of the 1984 Miners’ strike.

Founded in 1994 The Place2Be is an innovative, growing charity that gives children in primary schools a place where they can express their feelings through talking, creative work and play. The Place2Be delivers a range of services directly to children, parents and teachers in primary schools, from ex-mining communities. In addition they offer training for volunteers, staff and adults working with children. The Place2Be provides emotional support and is accessible to all children in schools where it operates.

Billy Elliot : The Musical opened 11 May 2005, following previews from 31 March, to terrific notices from the popular press: MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "Billy Elliot succeeds brilliantly because Elton John's music and, especially, Peter Darling's choreography enhance Lee Hall's cinematic concept." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen." ALASTAIR MACAULAY for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "Elton John's music is too often formulaic but about half of this show achieves dramatic poetry of a kind rare in any kind of theatre."PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Funny, touching and shamelessly enjoyable staging."

The current cast includes Sally Dexter (Mrs Wilkinson), Phil Whitchurch (Dad), Ann Emery (Grandma), Chris Lennon (Tony), Alex Delamere (Mr Braithwaite), Paul Broughton (George), Sara Poyzer (Mum).

The show has Book & Lyrics by Lee Hall & Music by Elton John. It is directed by Stephen Daldry, designed by Ian MacNeil, lighting by Rick Fisher, costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, choreography by Peter Darling, sound by Paul Arditti. Produced by Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan co-Chairmen of Working Title Films and theatre impresario Sally Greene, from Old Vic Productions along with Jon Finn.

Billy Elliot is the story of a boy from a humble Tyneside background, whose mother is dead, and whose father and brother are caught up in the bitterly fought community-splitting miner's strike of 1984. Billy's father wants his son to learn to box, like him and his father before him. But instead Billy becomes fascinated by the grace and magic of ballet. BILLY ELLIOT is about Billy's gritty and determined struggle, at first in secret, but then with the wholehearted backing of his family, to dance his way to the brightest of futures by winning a place at the Royal Ballet School.


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