A life-affirming musical about a young boy beating all odds to fulfill his dream.
Based on the Academy Award nominated 2000 film of the same title, Billy Elliot is the story of its namesake star, a young boy in a depressed working-class mining town in the North of England. Set during the history-making 1984 miner’s strike, the show follows Billy, the youngest child of a blue-collar family that has recently lost its Mum, as he discovers his unlikely and extraordinary gift for ballet. While Billy’s father and brother take to the picket lines of the violent and life-changing strike, Billy secretly begins to study the art of dance with the help of a hard-drinking, chain-smoking local dance teacher. But as Billy blossoms and thrives, the world and lives around him continues to wither—and his only escape may be the prestigious Royal Ballet School, a place no working-class boy has ever gone, or been allowed to go to, before.
What is Billy Elliot Like?
A transfer of the smash-hit West End production, Billy Elliot brings on tears and laughs almost simultaneously. The show is decidedly dark, reflecting the bleakness of Billy’s declining hometown and the uncertain future of his struggling family from beginning to end. Don’t despair, however: the show is buoyed with plenty of humor, and the numbers performed by the show’s title stars exceed even the highest expectations. Billy Elliot has an undoubtedly uplifting and touching story to tell, but if you’re looking for a simpler dollop of Broadway fluff, this might not be the best bet.
Is Billy Elliot Good for Kids?
Just because a show is about a child doesn’t mean it’s necessarily for children. The show is littered liberally with the sort of bad language you’d expect to find in a blue-collar community during tough times (some of the best expletives are delivered by the show’s child stars themselves), though nothing worse than you’d hear on your average late-night cable drama. A few mildly violent riot scenes and a 2+ hour running time may make the show unsuitable for your own youngsters, but the show’s message, content and story and content are a definite don’t-miss for ‘tweens and above.