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EJ Musical to End Chicago Run As Other Cities Prepare For The Show

Wednesday 7 July 2010 @ 17:05 - GMT

The Chicago production of Billy Elliot the Musical will give its final performance at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre on January 15, 2011, concluding what will be a run of 10 months. The final block of tickets for the show will go on sale on July 16.

Although the Elton-Lee Hall musical will not have matched the box office records set by such productions as Wicked and Jersey Boys, Eric Fellner, one of its producers, said its run in Illinois, which celebrates its 100th performance tonight, was beyond his expectations.

"My initial expectation was that this show would never come to America at all," quipped Eric. "So for me, the show has overperformed consistently. And we're thrilled with the Chicago run, which we only expected to be for six months. We were thrilled that the show was able to get so much traction here. And we're thrilled at how audiences have reacted."

Business has been very good weekly grosses in the $1 million to $1.1 million range have been typical.

"In addition, the Oriental Theatre in Chicago has about 2,200 seats, while the house in London has 1,400 and on Broadway it's 1,300. So the comparative percentages are a bit deceiving, even if ticket prices are a bit lower in Chicago," said Eric.

He noted that the show, which is set to move on to Toronto's Canon Theatre and San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre, is very expensive to run, given its large cast and the fact that having many children in the cast requires tutors and minders and additional personnel. But by the time it closes in Illinois, the  production will have recouped a substantial portion of the initial investment.

"We haven't had conversations yet about who will come with us to Toronto from the Chicago cast, but we hope a lot of them will," said Fellner. "They are really good. And many of the creative changes we made for this production certainly will travel with us-not just to Toronto and San Francisco, but to a second U.S. touring company that will open in Durham, N.C. in November, and several upcoming international editions, as well."

Billy Elliot will launch a multi-year second national tour in Durham, NC, at the Triangle's DPAC Oct. 30-Nov. 14, 2010. The tour will continue to Cleveland, OH, from Nov. 19 Dec. 12, 2010; Minneapolis, MN, from Dec. 16 Jan. 9, 2011; Charlotte, NC, from Jan. 12 30, 2011; Tampa, FL, from Feb. 2 20, 2011; Houston, TX, from Feb. 23 March 13, 2011; Seattle, WA, from March 17 April 3, 2011; Portland, OR, from April 5 24, 2011; Tempe, AZ, from April 27 May 8, 2011; Denver, CO, from May 11 -June 5, 2011; Dallas, TX, from June 8 July 3, 2011; and St. Louis, MO, from Aug. 8 28, 2011, with more cities to be announced.

For Chicago tickets, $30-$100, phone (800) 775-2000.

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