Elton John World News: ''Billy Elliot'' Producers Talk About Toronto Plans

''Billy Elliot'' Producers Talk About Toronto Plans-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday 17 February 2010 @ 16:25 - GMT

Next long ago, this Web site mentioned that Billy Elliot would be playing Toronto next year.

Yesterday, this was confirmed by director Stephen Daldry and two of the show's producers, Jon Finn, who also produced the film, and David Furnish, Elton's partner.

While the musical is expected to open in February 2011, the venue is less certain.

Finn admitted he also wasn't certain yet whether the Toronto run would simply feature a transfer of the Chicago production or involve a whole new company, which might be largely from Canada.

"I would enjoy that very much," said Daldry. "There's a great tradition here of classically trained actors performing in musicals and I understand you also have a panto here each Christmas, which also figures in the style of the show."

There's a history of Canadian involvement with the show already, which includes a Tony Award-winning performance by Montreal's David Alvarez as one of the original Broadway Billys. Toronto's Kate Hennig currently stars in New York in the leading role of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson and one of the Billys of the Chicago company, Cesar Corrales, is from Montreal.

Scarborough-born Furnish told the Star "this is a moment I've waited for all my life. When I was a kid, my first experience of the theatre was the shows that Ed Mirvish brought to the Royal Alex."

Furnish, whose high school chums included actors Mike Myers and Eric McCormack, also appreciates the fact that Elton composed the successful score.

David said Electricity is his favourite song in the show, "because that's the number that makes me feel like it must feel for Elton when he creates his music."

Daldry and Finn agree, surprisingly enough, "that we actually prefer the stage show to the movie."

Finn jokes that, "You tell people it's a musical about a miners' strike, they don't exactly start jumping up and down. But once they realize that it's really about a community in crisis, a community in retreat, a community fighting not just for wages but for its self-worth, its very existence, then you've got something they can hold on to."

Daldry said that "this show has always been a constant series of wonderful surprises and I always feel the best is yet to come."

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000 and Daldry observed that, "It's funny how Toronto has always been involved with Billy Elliot.

"It's no secret that we wanted to open the North American production here, but we just weren't able to make it work financially. I'm glad it's finally coming to the city where I always hoped it would play.

"Right from the start, I felt that this was a project that really should have opened years ago, but better late than never.''

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