Billy Elliot: Broadway's Billys are announced
Montreal born 13 year old David Alvarez, 13 year old Trent Kowalik from New York and 14 year old Kiril Kulish from San Diego, were announced as the three boys who are to play Billy in the Broadway production of the Olivier-Award winning show Billy Elliot - The Musical, opening at the Imperial Theatre on 13 Nov 2008, previewing from 1 Oct 2008.
David Alvarez, 13, was born in Montreal and lives in New York City. He began dancing when he was 8 and is in his second year on scholarship with the American Ballet Theater, appearing with them in productions at the Metropolitan Opera House and The Kennedy Center. Also training in classical piano, David was chosen one of this year's "Top 10 Ballet Teens to Watch" by Dance Sprit magazine.
Trent Kowalik, 13, is from Wantagh, New York. He started dance lessons at age 3ï¿½ at Dorothy's School of Dance in Bellmore, NY and in April 2006, he became the youngest American male ever to win The World Irish Dancing Championship in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In December 2007 Trent began playing the title role in the London production of Billy Elliot.
Kiril Kulish 14, is from San Diego and began dancing at age 5. The youngest member ever admitted to the San Diego Academy of Ballet's junior company, Kiril has performed with them for eight years. Equally accomplished in classical piano and Latin and ballroom dancing, he has won numerous awards in all the disciplines.
The three boys were chosen after a year-long national talent search that drew over 1500 hopefuls from all over the country. Auditions were held in 8 cities and all three of the Broadway Billys were first spotted at open calls (David and Trent in New York, Kiril in LA). They, along with twelve other finalists, underwent a grueling eight day callback last summer in New York City during which director Daldry and choreographer Darling worked with them extensively.
Trent is probably one of the most genius tap dancers weï¿½ve ever come across, so heï¿½s had to learn ballet,ï¿½ says Stephen Daldry (Director). ï¿½David and Kiril are exceptional ballet dancers; these are probably the best kids in the world right now, but theyï¿½ve had to learn tap.ï¿½
The part of Billy Elliot is unlike any other in the history of musical theatre, requiring a remarkable range of talents: ballet, tap, street dance, singing, acting, dialect and gymnastics. Further, the role is the largest child's role in musical theatre and one of the largest roles of any age. The young actor playing it is on-stage for 2 ï¿½ hours performing six musical numbers; it is the role's sheer size and the stamina required that necessitates this unique triple-casting.
The role of the three boys, who alternate as Billy Elliot, are important to the show for more than just their abilities. The musical's choreography is slightly changed, and some of the music varies (keys), to match the boys voices, requiring the adult performances to adjust their own performances.
Further casting to be announced.
Tickets will go on sale to American Express card-holders on 23 Apr 2008, and to the general public on 15 Jun 2008.
Billy Elliot - The Musical was a London hit when it opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 11 May 2005 and has been a box office hit ever since.
The show opened to excellent notices: "Billy Elliot succeeds brilliantly because Elton John's music and, especially, Peter Darling's choreography enhance Lee Hall's cinematic concept." (The Giardian); "Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen." (Daily Telegraph); "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.(Financial Times); "Funny, touching and shamelessly enjoyable staging." (The Independent).
Set in England's North East against the background of the miners' strike - Billy Elliot is the tale of a motherless boy whose father wants him to take up boxing. Instead, the boy discovers a love for ballet that leads him from secret lessons to a place at the Royal Ballet School.
Billy Elliot is created by the same team that made the multi-Oscar-nominated film: writer Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry, and choreographer Peter Darling. The musical's score is by Elton John, who also composed the music for The Lion King, Aida and Lestat.
The stage musical won Three Olivier Awards: Best New Musical, Best Actor and Choreographer. It also won the Evening Standard Award forBest Musical. A production of the show opened in sydney in Dec 2007.
The Broadway production will feature the same creative team as the London production: Ian MacNeil (sets), Nicky Gillibrand (costumes), Rick Fisher (lighting) and Paul Arditti (sound).
The musical is being produced on Broadway by Universal Pictures, Working Title & Old Vic Productions.
13 year old Trent Kowalik14 year old Kiril Kulish
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