Billy Elliot is a Tony Award Winning musical based on a critically acclaimed film of the same name. The main character, Billy, is a kid growing up in the middle of a coal miner’s strike in Northern England. After arriving late to one of his boxing practices, Billy is forced to stay at the gym and work on his skills. A ballet class full of girls takes over the gym while Billy is practicing. Billy unwittingly joins in the ballet class. Mrs. Wilkinson, the Ballet teacher, sees untapped potential in Billy and quickly becomes his guide in finding his talent against all odds including his reluctant family.
I recently got a chance to speak with Susan Haefner, the actress playing ballet teacher Mrs. Wilkinson for the Louisville performances. She has been performing for 25 years and has played various roles in Billy Elliot for the past 2 and ½ years. When I asked her what the moral of this story is, she gave me an answer that I think sums up the entire play. She said, “Personal dreams and passions can come true despite the opposition and oppression one might feel. Billy rises out of the muck with his teacher’s help and his own willpower. We can always make things happen.”
With extravagant music by Elton John, powerful dance numbers, and a touch of comedy, Billy Elliot was a joy to watch; however, just like the movie, the play included a lot of foul language and a few sexual references. Had the play not included these elements, I would have recommended it for the whole family. I highly recommend Billy Elliot for everyone over the age of 13, though.
Billy Elliot will be at the Kentucky Center for the Arts from now until July 1st with performances every night and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Get your tickets fast because opening night was packed!