Sunday, Dec 16, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website

Flash Banner

Logo Maker
JavaScript Menu
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 13
Billy Elliot a boy born to boogie
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Billy Elliot a boy born to boogie

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN Contributing Writer

Billy Elliot:
The Musical
Paramount Theatre
Through April 3


To say a show is inspiring, uplifting, or a dancing sensation is to be redundant in regards to Billy Elliot: The Musical.

Based on the 2000 film of the same name, this musical tells the story of young boy who exchanges boxing gloves for ballet shoes when his gift of dance is discovered. Set against the violent conflict of the U.K. miner's strike, this beautifully staged musical comedy is something that will remain in the memory of all who see it.

The time is 1984, and the place is Northern England in a village that survives by coal mining. Billy Elliot, 11 years old, lives with a semi-senile grandmother and an older brother and father who are minors in the small town. As Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher continues her relentless war on the union workers, a strike is called and Billy's father and brother clash with riot police on a daily basis.

Accidentally stumbling into a ballet class that immediately follows his boxing lesson, Billy meets the dance instructor Mrs. Wilkinson. Recognizing his natural gift for ballet, she personally supervises the motherless boy, taking him under her wing with private lessons and encouraging him to follow his inner dreams. When his father finds out, he struggles with the conflicts of his own pride, questions of masculinity, and how to give his son what is probably the only chance he'll have for success. What follows is a visual feast of dancing that expresses everything from political clashes to the beauty of ballet escapism.

There are four different young men playing the title role, and I had the pleasure of seeing two of them. While slightly different stylistic interpretations were offered, both showed excessive amounts of talent, which only leads to the belief that no matter which you see (Lex Ishimoto, Daniel Russell, Kylend Hetherington, or Giuseppe Bausilio), you will not be disappointed. These young men have a dance discipline that often escapes people many years older. They share a common ability to capture the audiences and immediately have us sympathizing and cheering along with them each dance step of the way.

Act I ends with "Angry Dance" as Billy explodes his frustrations through a temper tantrum modernistic tap dance that expresses the angst, anger, and frustration that any 11-year-old can feel. It's done with such fantastic emotion and fierce deliverance that as soon as the curtain closed (signaling the conclusion of Act 1), it immediately rose to give the talented dancer his own momentary - and much-deserved - acknowledgment.

Faith Prince plays Mrs. Wilkinson, the ballet instructor that serves as guide, instructor, and mother-by-proxy to Billy. As expected from a woman of such high acclaim, Ms. Prince delivers beautifully. She shows us a woman frustrated with her surroundings, and the sheer surprise and incredible hopes when recognizing Billy's dancing potential. She plays the role with a subtle fierceness, strong in resolve and not afraid to stand up to Billy's father when his blue-collar attitude gets the better of him. And yet, Ms. Prince also exudes a gentle calm that serves to nurture the motherless boy and carefully encourages him to become all he can be.

There are four others in Billy's life that help shape the path of the gifted boy. His grandmother (played by Patti Perkins) may be senile, but her memory is strong enough to share the experiences of her married years. The song "We'd Go Dancing" is a mixture of regret, sorrow and the glimpse of happiness that made it worthwhile.

Tony (Jeff Kready) is perfect as Billy's older brother fighting for the miner's rights, and trying to keep a hold of the only reality he knows.

Billy's father (Rich Hebert) masters the challenge of being the lower-class miner struggling to take care of his family, and battling with his preconceived notions of what his son should be. Hebert does not hold back, and we see each stab of pain cross his expression and manifest itself from his body language; the true mark of a talented actor.

The main support Billy finds is from his best friend Michael (Griffin Birney or Jacob Zelonky). It is from him that Billy learns to be true to your inner self. In the song "Expressing Yourself," the two discover there's nothing wrong with "being who you want to be" as they dress up in women's clothing. While Michael's sexual orientation is not as clearly presented as it is in the film, it's not needed to be brought to the front in this production. The message is clear regardless: "Start a new fashion, buck all the trends. Emphasize integrity." And be true to yourself.

The choreographer of the show (Peter Darling) is another person who deserves mention. He has staged a truly beautiful and different form of modernistic and urban ballet. As certain scenes unfold, the audiences sees the physical clash of picket line protestors and police riot squads. As the two sides collide, a troupe of ballet dancers interweave and move flawlessly through the battle, showing us the complete spectrum of simultaneous events happening. Billy's "Angry Dance" has him throwing his defiance against police battalions, all done meticulously to music and expressed through dance.

Billy Elliot: The Musical began Broadway previews on October 1, 2008 and is still currently running, quickly approaching its 1,000th performance. In 2009, it tied the record for the most Tony Award nominations in one season with 15 nominations and 10 wins (Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards) including Best Musical. Although the stage production glosses over some of the stark reality of the film in order to make the musical more family-friendly, it does contain consistent language and hand gestures not only from the parents, but the child actors as well. The film was released in 2000, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay.

To contact Eric Andrews-Katz email eric@sgn.org.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Seattle Pride Idol is back!
------------------------------
Shangela to make her Seattle debut
------------------------------
Billy Elliot a boy born to boogie
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Lisa Lampanelli lets it all hang out
------------------------------
Great performances make The King's Proposal an enjoyable evening
------------------------------
Of Mice and Men brings classic to the stage
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Dee Hoty makes 9 to 5 her own
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Laura Love delights sold-out crowd at Triple Door
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Next week in The Music Lounge: Cut Copy checks in from the road
------------------------------
Three Dollar Bill's Spring Film Series offers Jean Genet cinema rarities
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Source Code director Duncan Jones
------------------------------
Tricky Source Code a Hitchcockian sci-fi blast
------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
The Sounds are ringing loud and clear
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
Triumphant All My Sons proves universal
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News