Billy Elliot Adult Cast Announced
Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel Entertainments and Louise Withers Presents have announced the adult cast for the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical which opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre in October 2019 followed by seasons in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre from February 2020, Crown Theatre Perth from June 2020, QPAC’s Lyric Theatre in Brisbane from July 2020 and the Festival Theatre at Adelaide Festival Centre from September 2020.
Featuring music by the Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical has been seen by almost 12 million people worldwide. It is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including 10 Tony Awards, 5 Olivier Awards and 8 Helpmann Awards.
Starring as the tough but supportive ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson will be Kelley Abbey. Kelley began her career in the long running TV series E Street before starring on stage in productions including Sweet Charity, Grease the Arena Spectacular and Fame the Musical. Her choreography earnt her a Helpmann Award for The Boy from Oz Arena Spectacular.
“I am so thrilled to be playing Mrs Wilkinson and returning to the stage in such a heartfelt and moving show as Billy Elliot the Musical. In my career I have been directing, choreographing and mentoring so many dancers, that playing Mrs Wilkinson who teaches and mentors young Billy, seems a perfect fit! There’s nothing more exciting than nurturing young people to transport themselves via dance and really connect with their authentic selves.”, said Kelley.
Justin Smith joins the cast in the role of Dad, Billy’s stoic father. Justin’s musical credits include Jesus Christ Superstar and Rent. Most poignantly he also starred as Tony, Billy’s older brother in the original Australian production of Billy Elliot the Musical so Justin will take the generational leap and take on the role of the Dad.
Playing Billy’s eccentric Grandma is actress Vivien Davies. Her career has seen her perform in musicals including Les Misérables, Menopause the Musical, Buddy and Dusty as well in many and varied productions with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Billy’s hot-headed brother Tony will be played by Drew Livingston. Drew’s stage work has seen him work extensively since graduating from WAAPA in 2010 including productions for the Sydney Theatre Company and in the acclaimed Australian production of the National Theatre’s War Horse.
Robert Grubb stars as George, a miner and the town’s boxing coach. Robert has worked extensively on stage and screen starring in many and varied television and film roles including Flying Doctors, Mad Max, and Gallipoli. Robert’s musical theatre credits including MAMMA MIA! the Musical, Sunset Boulevard, We Will Rock You, which earnt him a Helpmann Award and most recently Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Other adult cast members who will form this outstanding company include Dean Vince (Mr Braithwaite), Danielle Everett (Dead Mum) and (in alphabetical order) Justin Anderson, Dion Bilios, Josh Gardiner, Isabel Hawthorne, Matt Heyward, Barbara Hughes, Caroline Kaspar, Alexander ‘Zan’ Kermond, Zoë Komazec, Sarah Kate Landy, Michael Lindner, Joe Miller, Joshua Russell, David Sirianni, Lisa Sontag, Darren Tyler and Paul Whiteley.
Australian Producer Louise Withers said, “The outstanding talents of the adult cast including Kelley Abbey, Justin Smith and Robert Grubb, will ensure a special night out. We are privileged to have this remarkable adult company who will soon be joined by the 4 extremely gifted boys who will play the inspiring lead role of Billy. This 10th Anniversary Production will certainly be celebrated with this world class cast.”
The audition process continues for the children who will also be a part of the cast.
The successful West End musical premiered in Australia in 2007 as the first international production outside of the UK, prior to its Broadway premiere. With the first Australian tour concluding in Melbourne in 2009, this new 10th Anniversary Tour kicks off in 2019, ten years after the curtain came down in Australia. The physical design was so complex at the time, that touring Billy beyond Sydney and Melbourne was not possible. With some clever adjustments, the production is now able to tour to other capital cities.
Based on the film of the same name, Billy Elliot the Musical follows the journey of a young boy raised in a small British mining town. Set against the backdrop of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family, the whole community and changes his life forever.
Billy Elliot the Musical premiered in London in 2005 and since then has been seen across five continents, winning numerous awards and millions of fans along the way. After winning five Olivier Awards including Best Actor in a Musical for the three Billys and Best Musical, the first international production opened in Sydney in 2007 which garnered eight Helpmann Awards including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for the four boys who shared the role of Billy in 2008. This was followed by a successful Broadway run which had the extraordinary honour of winning ten Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Male Actor in a Musical for the three boys that shared the role of Billy. Productions have been staged all over the world including the West End, Australia, Broadway, North American tour, Chicago, Toronto, The Netherlands, UK & Ireland Tour, Hamburg, Tokyo and Seoul.
Billy Elliot the Musical was brought to the stage by the multiple award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show’s score. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.
Billy Elliot the Musical is presented by Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel Entertainments and Louise Withers Presents and is based on the Universal Pictures / Studio Canal film BILLY ELLIOT.
Images: (top) Original London Production - Photo by Alastair Muir and (lower) Original Australian Production - Photo by James D. Morgan.