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Billy Elliot The Musical Brings A Satisfying Taste Of Broadway To Austin

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:06 PM CDT

1980's. Depressed Northern England town. Miner's strike. All the ingredients for an uplifting musical, right? Well, when the police and picketers clash in dance numbers and characters exchange dialog in Elton John music, it works. At least it does in Billy Elliot The Musical, the show that won 10 Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Musical.

If you've ever seen the (terrific) 2000 movie on which the show is based, you'll recognize the story. The 12 year-old son of a rugged, widowed miner trades in his boxing gloves for ballet shoes and sets out to convince everyone - including himself - that it's the right choice. It's not easy to review the stage show's performances because on any given night, one of three young actors can be playing the lead role and one of two others can be playing his best friend, Michael. On the night I attended, Ben Cook took the stage. His singing, acting and accent were top-notch. And while his dancing was technically excellent, I found myself wanting him to put a little more raw emotion into some of his moves.

Even though you probably won't find yourself humming any of the songs on the way home, there are some terrific individual numbers from Billy, Michael and Billy’s grandma, Patty Perkins.  Janet Dickinson is also very good as Mrs. Wilkinson, the dance teacher who just won't give up on Billy.

The show's staging is excellent. The cast pulls and pushes pieces of scenery around, but it's all seamless. The movie was rated PG-13 for some coarse language; the show follows suit, but it's all in character. Overall, Billy Elliot brings a satisfying taste of Broadway to the Bass Concert Hall. Billy Elliot the Musical will be at Bass Concert Hall Tuesday, December 11 through Sunday, December 16.

Bass Concert Hall is located at 2350 Robert Dedman Drive on the University of Texas campus.

By Bettie CrossBilly Elliot The Musical Brings A Satisfying Taste Of Broadway To Austin


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