“Music Theater Works’ Billy Elliot: The Musical” brightened the stage of its new home at the North Shore Center for The Performing Arts In Skokie (9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60076) on December 23, 2021 and will continue to do so through January 2, 2022 as the final production of the 2021 Season.
Billy Elliot: The Musical is a coming-of-age stage musical based on the 2000 film of the same name. The music is by Elton John, and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film’s screenplay.
Before we meet Billy, we are intraduced to the miners who have been striking to keep the coal mine, the source of their livelihood, open. This was Margaret Thatcher’s England. We then meet Billy, his father, older brother, and grandmother. As Wikipedia tells it, this was the “1984–85 UK miners’ strike in County Durham, in North East England. Hall’s screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin‘s 1935 novel about a miners’ strike, The Stars Look Down, to which the musical’s opening song pays homage.
While taking boxing lessons, Billy needs to pass or go through the ballet school next door. and ultimately, wanders into a situation he never expected to be in. The ballet teacher takes and interest in Billy, seeing a hidden talent which she nurtures, much to the horror of his family or the other miners.
The interplay of the strikers and Billy’s unique qualities was gripping. Billy is different, a “sissy”? The town shows remarkable kindness as they embrace and support Billy despite their own problems with the strike.
Having lived in County Durham for a year and having a strong interest in ballet, I was captivated by the story, first in the film and later on stage. I wondered how Music Theater Works would handle this show I was not disappointed.
All those triple threat- dancers, actors and singers- were excellent. Poignant and funny in the hands of the young performers as well as seasoned and skilled performers. The costuming, staging and lighting enhanced the performance. Throughout, it was Billy’s show and handled beautifully by Jake Siswick (as Billy Elliot)
There were many standouts that included a dance between the young Billy and the professional dancer Billy would become, the live orchestra, the staging, sets and costuming, and the exuberance of the cast and the very interesting issue of coal mines with which we continue to do battle.
One thing that might have made this show even better would be some kind of superscript or written material to match the words which were not always easy to understand with the North England accent.
My friends and I LOVED this production- see if you do, too.
● Billy Elliot: The Musical
● Music by Sir Elton John
● Directed by Kyle A. Dougan
● Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
● Choreography by Clayton Cross
● Music Directed and Conducted by Michael McBride
● Matt Miles (as Dad)
● Rick Rapp (as George)
● Caron Buinis (as Grandma)
● Brandon Michuad (as Tony)
● Lydia Burke (as Dead Mum)
● Jake Siswick (as Billy Elliot)
● Kai Edgar (as Michael Caffrey)
● Casiena Raether (as Mrs. Wilkinson)
● Jon Parker Jackson (as Mr. Braithwaite)
● Everleigh Murphy (as Debbie Wilkinson)
Ticket prices range from $41 to $108 and tickets for guests 25 and under are half-price.
Box Office: (847) 673-6300
Billy Elliot: The Musical Website
Run Time: The approximate run time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15 minute intermission.
Health Safety: ALL GUESTS will be required to wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status and to
present their photo ID with proof of full vaccination from COVID-19 with an approved vaccine.
Please visit https://www.musictheaterworks.com/health-safety-procedures/ for More information.
● Wednesday, December 29, 2021 @ 1:00 PM
● Thursday, December 30, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
● Friday, December 31, 2021 @ 8:00 PM
● Saturday, January 1, 2022 @ 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
● Sunday, January 2, 2022 @ 2:00