Billy Elliot - The Musical announces complete cast
The full cast has been announced for the Olivier-Award winning show Billy Elliot - The Musical, opening at the Imperial Theatre on 13 Nov 2008, previewing from 1 Oct 2008.
The roles of Billy's teacher, father, grandmother and brother will be played respectively by: Haydn Gwynne, who created the role of dance teacher 'Mrs. Wilkinson' in the show's original London cast, will make her Broadway debut recreating her Olivier-nominated performance; Gregory Jbara ('Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,' 'Victor/Victoria') will play 'Dad'; Tony winner Carole Shelley ('The Elephant Man,' 'Wicked') will play 'Grandma'; and Santino Fontana ('Sunday in the Park with George' revival) will play 'Tony'. They join the previously-announced Broadway 'Billys' David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish.
Featured roles in the show will include David Bologna and Frank Dolce alternating in the role of Billy's friend Michael, Stephen Hanna as Billy's Older Self, Joel Hatch as George, Leah Hocking as Mum, Thommie Retter as Mr. Braithwaite and Erin Whyland as Debbie.
The original Broadway company will also feature Juliette Allen Angelo, Tommy Batchelor, Kevin Bernard, Grady McLeod Bowman, Heather Burns, Maria Connelly, Samantha Czulada, Kyle DesChamps, Eboni Edwards, Brianna Fragomeni, Greg Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Eric Gunhus, Meg Guzulescu, Izzy Hanson-Johnston, Keean Johnson, Aaron Kaburick, Donnie Kehr, Cara Kjellman, Kara Klein, David Koch, Jeff Kready, Stephanie Kurtzuba, David Larsen, Caroline London, Merle Louise, Marina Micalizzi, Mitch Michaliszyn, Matthew Mindler, Tessa Netting, Daniel Oreskes, Jayne Paterson, Liz Pearce, Corrieanne Stein, Jamie Torcellini, Grant Turner and Casey Whyland.
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 London production 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 Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Weinstein Live Entertainment.
Haydn Gwynne (Mrs. Wilkinson). Haydn has been nominated for two Olivier Awards: 'Billy Elliot - The Musical' ((Mrs. Wilkinson) and 'City of Angels' (Oolie/Donna). She created the role of Billie Burke in 'Ziegfeld.' Other London credits include: 'The Merry Wives of Windsor,' .A Midsummer Night's Dream, 'Twelfth Night' and 'Peer Gynt' (all for The RSC). She recently appeared in the HBO series 'Rome' as 'Calpurnia' and in "Consenting Adults" for the BBC, and in 'Lewis' and the forthcoming 'Poirot: The Third Girl' for ITV.
Gregrory Jbara (Dad). Broadway credits include: 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' (2005), 'Victor/Victoria' (1995), 'Damn Yankees!' (1994 revival) In 1997 Mr. Jbara was the second actor to star as 'Billy Flynn' in the Tony Award winning revival of Chicago.
Carole Shelley (Grandma). Shelley was won a Tony Award for her work in 'The Elephant Man' (1979) and 'Maxine' in 'Stepping Out' (1987). Shelley originated the role of 'Madame Morrible' in the Broadway production of Wicked. Shelley has appeared regurlarly on Broadway since her debut in 'The Odd Couple' (1965).
Santino Fontana (Tony) made his Broadway debut in the recent revival of 'Sunday in the Park with George' (2008).
David Bologna (Michael) age 13, began his acting career at the age of 6 and has performed in 28 productions in New Orleans and Austin. Bologna is a two-time Big Easy Award winner for Best Performance by a Child for his roles in The Music Man (Winthrop Paroo) and Oliver (Oliver).
Frank Dolce (Michael) is a New Jersey native. In the fall of 2006 he played the role of 'Tommy Bailey' in 'A Wonderful Life' at the Paper Mill.
Stephen Hanna (Billy's Older Self) is making his Broadway debut. Hanna became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1997, and later that year he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Mr. Hanna was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, he was promoted to principal dancer.
Joel Hatch (George) is making his Broadway debit. He currently stars in the Off-Broadway musical 'Adding Machine,' which closes on 20 Jul 2008. He has appeared in national tours of 'Showboat,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' and 'Ragtime.'
Leah Hocking (Billy's Mother) has starred as 'Donna Sheridan' in the Broadway production of Mamma Mia! (Donna Sheridan), Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle). Other BRoadway credits include: 'All Shook Up' (2005) 'Dance Of The Vampires' (2002), 'The Wild Party' (2000), 'Jekyll and Hyde' (1997), 'Grease' (1994 revival) and Guys and Dolls (1992).
Thommie Retter (Mr. Braithwaite) is making his Broadway debut. Retter has directed and or choreographed numerous productions, including the hit Disney show 'Cory In The House,' the international stage show, 'Caution: Men at Work-TAP,' and was a featured performer on an Emmy-nominated episode of 'Malcolm in the Middle.'
Erin Whyland (Debbie) is 9 years old and lives in Syracuse, NY. In 2006 she was cast in her first professional show at Syracuse Stage playing 'Gretl' in 'The Sound of Music' and in 2007 she appeared in 'Fiddler on the Roof' at the Cortland Repretory Theatre.
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