Thursday, February 23, 2006
"Billy Elliot" Taking Over The World
Billy Elliot -- The Musical hopes to win its share of Olivier awards this Sunday (the UK equivalent of the Tonys). And director Stephen Daldry says plans are moving ahead to launch the very British piece in Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia and of course the US. (They've already begun seeding excitement here by releasing the cast album here with four songs performed by composer Elton John.) The big problem: casting Billy. The show is so demanding it takes three kids to tackle the role at any one time (they rotate their performances.) And so the show is in a constant state of auditions, with the UK casting people touring the country and seeing kids tap their hearts out every two weeks. They already found the perfect kid for the US -- Colin Bates of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, he's already 15 and would be too old by the time the show debuted on Broadway. So they sent him to London to start performing immediately.