Billy Elliot the Musical Strikes a Chord with LA Audiences
April 19, 2012 - Reviewed by Flavia Potenza
With two weeks to go, Billy Elliot the Musical is still wowing audiences with the manifold talents of the four boys, Ty Forhan, Kylend Hetherington, Zach Manske and J.P. Viernes, who alternate in the role of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal miners son in Northern England, whose life is forever changed when he stumbles upon a ballet class on his way to boxing lessons.
Billys rise as a talented dancer is incongruously set against the backdrop of the devastating 1984 coal miners strike in Margaret Thatchers England that lasted for two years.
The coal miners lost but placing the two events together heightens the drama and gives social context to the difficulty Billy faces when his father and overbearing brother forbid him to continue.
Elton Johns music with book and lyrics by Lee Hall, and Peter Darlings choreography underscore the stark contrast between the realities of a coal miners life rigid, harsh, with no expectations beyond their station and the dreams of youth flowing and free and flying.
Billys flying scene is a show-stopper and his interview with the Royal Ballet School when he is asked how dancing makes him feel, is something to which we might all aspire.
The 2009 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Billy Elliot the Musical plays at the Pantages Theatre through May 13.
Tickets may be purchased online at BroadwayLA.org or by phone at (800) 982-2787; at the Pantages Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine Street, and the box office opens daily at 10 a.m.
In Hollywood, two weeks before Billy Elliot the Musical hit the boards, The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced that they will officially merge. This merger that encompasses more than 150,000 actors, announcers, broadcasters, journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals is one of the largest displays of Solidarity shown in the entertainment industry; a display which has touched the hearts of theatre professionals nationwide, including the national tour of Billy Elliot.
In solidarity with the merger, Broadway/L.A. and the national tour extend their own display of Solidarity with a $45 ticket offer that is available to all entertainment union members, such as the newly formed SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity Association, IATSE and AGVA, among others. Members with valid union ID cards may come to the Pantages Theatre box office beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the performance and purchase $45 best available seats in select areas. There is a two-seat maximum per member per valid union ID.