Thursday, 10 December 2015

Billy Elliot announces West End closure

It has been announced that the West End production of Billy Elliot The Musical will close next year on 9th April due to developmental work at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The musical will close after 4,600 performances, coinciding with its eleventh birthday.

Billy Elliot has been seen to date by over 5.25 million people in London and nearly 11 million people worldwide, has grossed over $800 million worldwide and is the winner of over 80 theatre awards internationally. 

A UK tour will be launched in February 2016. In addition, the first Japanese language production will open at the Akasaka ACT Theater in Tokyo in 2017. Scroll down for gossip about a possible film version of the musical.

Billy Elliot The Musical has book and lyrics by Lee Hall with music by Elton John. The show is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling, scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch whilst Julian Webber is the associate director.

Eric Fellner (Working Title Films) said: “After eleven incredible years at the Victoria Palace Theatre, I join my fellow producers in expressing our gratitude to absolutely everyone involved in making the show the enormous success it has become. It has been a privilege to witness Billy Elliot’s journey so far from producing the film in 1999 to the musical opening in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Broadway, Chicago, Seoul and Toronto amongst many other cities.

"I am delighted that Billy will continue his extraordinary journey when we begin our first UK and Ireland tour next year and look forward to the first Japanese production opening in Tokyo in 2017. Billy Elliot the Musical is Working Title’s first theatre production and we could not be more delighted with how audiences in London and worldwide have embraced this young boy’s inspirational story.”

Jimmy Horowitz (Universal Pictures) said: “Billy Elliot is one of the finest examples of what makes live theatre so special. When a powerful story is combined with a brilliant creative team and brought to life on stage by a company of talented and generous artists, there is truly nothing like it. All of us at Universal Stage Productions congratulate each and every individual who has contributed to the extraordinary success of this production over the last eleven years, and offer a heartfelt thank you to our London audiences who have so lovingly embraced Billy Elliot since the very beginning. Billy is about community and we are very proud to have been a part of yours.”

Elton John said: “I’ve said it before and it still remains true, Billy Elliot has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. The talented young performers who have become part of our Billy Elliot family have amazed me with their achievements from the very start. Each time I have revisited the show I have been moved by Billy’s heart-warming story and his determination to achieve his dreams. I am so delighted that new audiences around the country will now have the opportunity to experience this extraordinary piece of work.”

Stephen Daldry said: “After eleven years and forty two London Billy Elliots, there are a huge number of people to whom we are enormously grateful, who have offered encouragement and support behind the scenes to our incredible child performers. From the mums and dads to the dance teachers and teachers of every kind who have helped them along the way, we want to say a massive thank you.

"The story of a miner’s son in the 80s who wanted to be a ballet dancer captured the imagination of audiences and critics alike and the dedication of everyone who has brought the show to life at the Victoria Palace Theatre and beyond has been exemplary. It has been a real privilege to have had the opportunity to retell Billy’s story on stage with my fellow creative team – I genuinely could not be more proud. I am really looking forward to our next chapter when we introduce the show to new audiences around the country and beyond.”

Lee Hall said: “The Victoria Palace has been Billy Elliot's home for eleven years and, after the film, was an incredible place to start our theatrical journey. Our show has become so much bigger than anything I could have imagined and what has been particularly gratifying is to hear how many people have been genuinely inspired by Billy's story. I can't wait to take the show on tour, especially to the North East - it's going to be an extraordinary thing to take Billy's story back to where it started.”

GOSSIP: Could Billy Elliot The Musical be adapted into a new film?

The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye has revealed that Lee Hall and Stephen Daldry - the team behind the original 2000 film as well as the musical - hope to make a new movie based on the musical. Composer Elton John is said to also be "eager" for the film to be made.

Eric Fellner, who co-runs Working Title films, reportedly told Bamigboye that the project is "chugging along on active development" and is "three or four years away". 

Photo Credit: Adam Sorenson

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