Show History

History

Inspiration

Billy Elliot The Musical, with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. Hall also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which was inspired by The Stars Look Down, a 1935 novel that recounts the details of a local miners' strike. Like Billy's family, Hall grew up in a household that was greatly affected by the miners' strike of 1984.

Elton John saw a screening of the film in Cannes, France, and was greatly inspired by Hall's work. He sat down with Hall and proposed that they make a musical of the film. Once they were able to bring the original creative team from the movie on board, Hall agreed to it.

Productions

Billy Elliot was originally planned to premiere at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Due to the production's growing budget and theatre's financial problems, however, it was abandoned. The musical later opened on the West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre on May 11, 2005.

The show received its Australian premiere at Sydney's Capitol Theatre on November 13, 2007. It eventually transferred to Melbourne at the Her Majesty's Theatre, where it closed on June 14, 2009. The Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on November 13, 2008, utilizing the same creative team as the original London production. It closed on January 8, 2012 after 1,312 regular performances.

Billy Elliot launched multiple national tours in the United States, though they followed a rather unconventional schedule.  The first tour opened in Chicago on April 11, 2010 with an extended run at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, which started out the multi-city tour. The tour then concluded with an early closing on November 28, when it then immediately transferred to Toronto, Canada on February 1, 2011. The second U.S. tour opened on October 30, 2010 and followed a more traditional timeline.

The musical opened in Seoul, South Korea on August 10, 2010 as the first non-English speaking production.

Trivia

  • Bookwriter and lyricist Lee Hall worked with orchestrator Martin Koch to create a shortened version of the musical for an establishment called "Billy Youth Theatre." The program gives schools and youth groups an opportunity to stage their own production of the musical to help foster the arts and dance within Greater Britain.
  • Billy Elliot The Musical was the first musical of the twenty-first century to utilize children in starring roles.
  • The Broadway production received 15 Tony Award nominations in 2009, tied with The Producers for the most nominations ever from a single show within a year.
  • The three actors who played Billy in the original London production were the first to win an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in a shared capacity. The young Billy actors in the Broadway production also share that distinction for the Tony Awards.