Billy Elliot The Musical
An inspiring celebration of the journey of one boy who hangs up his boxing gloves for ballet shoes.
Show Essentials
7
Roles
+ Ensemble
R
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

In County Durham, the 1984 – '85 coal miner's strike is just beginning ("The Stars Look Down"). Motherless eleven-year-old Billy is required to stay behind after his boxing class, and finds his way into a ballet class run by Mrs. Wilkinson. He is the only boy but becomes attracted to the grace of the dance ("Shine"). The secret is easily kept initially, as the only person home at the time is his grandmother. She reveals her abusive relationship with her dead husband and that she, too, loved to dance, which made everything all right ("Grandma's Song").

While his brother, father and neighbors are on strike and clash with riot police, Billy continues to take dance lessons, keeping it a secret from his family ("Solidarity"), a number which intersperses the violent reality of the strike with the peaceful practice of ballet.

Eventually, Mr. Elliot discovers Billy in the ballet class and forbids him from attending the lessons. Mrs. Wilkinson recognizes Billy's talent and privately suggests that he should audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. To prepare for the audition, she offers him free private lessons. Billy is not sure what he wants to do, so he visits his best friend, Michael, for advice. He finds Michael wearing a dress, who then persuades Billy to have fun with him by dressing up in woman's clothing and disdaining the restrictive inhibitions of their working class community ("Expressing Yourself").

Billy arrives for his first private ballet lesson, bringing with him things to inspire a special dance for the audition ("Dear Billy – Mum's Letter"). He begins learning from, and bonding with, Mrs. Wilkinson while he develops an impressive routine for his audition ("Born to Boogie"). Mrs. Wilkinson's daughter, Debbie, tries to discourage Billy because she has a crush on him. Meanwhile, Billy's father and brother, Tony, are engaged in daily battles with riot police that often turn bloody. They struggle to support the family with very little in strike and union pay, a difficult task that goes on for nearly a year.

When the day of the Royal Ballet School audition comes, police storm through the village and injure Tony. Because Billy had not come to the miner's hall to get picked up by Mrs. Wilkinson for the audition, she goes to the Elliot's home. There, Billy's family and some members of the community have gathered. She is forced to reveal that she has been teaching Billy ballet in preparation for this very day. This news upsets Billy's father and Tony, who get in an argument with Mrs. Wilkinson. Tony tries to force Billy to dance on the table in front of everyone. The police approach and, as everyone escapes, Billy calls out to his father, saying that his mother would have let him dance, but his father refuses to accept that, retorting, "Your Mam's dead!". Billy goes into a rage ("Angry Dance") and, for nearly a year, stays away from anything related to ballet.

Act Two

Six months later at the miner's annual Christmas show, the children put on a show disparaging Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who is seen as the antagonist by the coal miners ("Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher"). Billy's father gets drunk and sings an old folk song that elicits memories of his deceased wife, and the usually stoic man leaves in tears ("Deep into the Ground"). Left alone with Billy in the Community Centre, Michael reveals he has feelings for him, but Billy explains that the fact that he likes ballet does not mean that he is gay. Michael gives him a kiss on the cheek and tries to get Billy to show him some dancing, but Billy is sad and just tells him to leave.

Michael departs but leaves a music player running. Billy feels like dancing for the first time since the day of the aborted audition and dances while dreaming of being a grown-up dancer ("Swan Lake"). Unknown to Billy, his father arrives and watches him dance. Overcome with emotion, his father goes to Mrs. Wilkinson's house to discuss Billy's prospects as a dancer. She confirms Billy's talent, but is not sure whether or not he would get into the Royal Ballet School. Mrs. Wilkinson offers to help pay for the trip to London for the audition, but Mr. Elliot refuses. He leaves, questioning his working-class pride and the future mining has for his boys.

Mr. Elliot decides that the only way to help Billy is to return to work. When Tony sees his father cross the picket line, he becomes infuriated. The two argue over what is more important: unity of the miners or helping Billy achieve his dream ("He Could Be a Star"). The argument eventually comes to blows, and Billy is hit accidentally. One of the miners chastises them for fighting and says that the important thing is looking after the child. One by one, the miners give money to help pay for the trip to the audition, but Billy still does not have enough for the bus fare to London. A strike-breaker arrives and offers him hundreds of pounds. An enraged Tony attempts to shun his donation, but no one else speaks up in his support. Now drained of hope, Tony dismally ponders whether there's a point to anything anymore and runs off.

Billy and his father arrive at the Royal Ballet School for the audition. While Mr. Elliot waits outside, an upper-crust Londoner highlights the contrast between the Elliots and the families of the other applicants. Mr. Elliot meets a dancer with a thick Northern accent. The dancer confesses that his father does not support his ballet career. He sharply advises Mr. Elliot to "get behind" his boy. Billy nervously finishes the audition with a sinking feeling that he did not do well. As he packs his gear, he lets that emotion overwhelm him and he punches another dancer who was trying to comfort him. The audition committee reminds Billy of the strict standards of the school. They have received an enthusiastic letter from Mrs. Wilkinson that explains Billy's background and situation, and they ask him to describe what it feels like when he dances. Billy responds with a heartfelt declaration of his passion ("Electricity").

Back in Durham, the Elliots resume life, but times are tough and the miners are running a soup kitchen to ensure everyone is fed. Eventually, Billy receives a letter from the school and — overwhelmed and fearful, knowing that it heralds the end of the life he has known — he informs his family that he wasn't accepted. Tony retrieves the letter from the waste bin and discovers that his brother was not telling the truth. At the same time, the miners' union has caved in; they lost the strike. Billy visits Mrs. Wilkinson at the dance class to thank her for everything she did to help him. Debbie is sad that Billy will be leaving.

Billy packs his things for the trip to the school and says goodbye to the soon-to-be-unemployed miners, who are returning unhappily to work ("Once We Were Kings"). Billy says goodbye to his dead mother, who often visits him in his imagination ("Dear Billy – Billy's Reply"). Michael arrives to say goodbye, and Billy gives him a kiss on the cheek. Billy takes his suitcase and walks out to his future alone.

The entire cast comes out on stage and calls Billy back to celebrate the bright future ahead of him ("Finale").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Large (21 or more performers)
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Heavy

Character Breakdown

Billy Elliot
A boy who stumbles upon a ballet class and develops a passion for dance. To him, dance is a way to feel whole and free himself from the problems of life. He finds himself stuck between appeasing family and chasing his newfound love.
Gender: male
Age: 10 to 13
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Dad
Billy's stoic father. A widowed miner struggling with maintaining a household in lieu of a work strike, he is still deeply scarred by the death of his wife. Billy's dancing initially sends him into a rage but he learns to support his son.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: Eb4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Debbie Wilkinson
The ballet teacher's daughter. A bit stand-offish and argumentative, her childhood crush on Billy leads her to constantly discourage him.
Gender: female
Age: 9 to 12
Ensemble
Miners (Big Davey, George, Lesley); Ballet Girls (Angela Robson, Tracey Atkinson, Keeley Gibson, Tina Harmer); Police Officers; Royal Ballet School Members (Clipboard Woman, Posh Boy, Posh Son, Dancer)
Grandma
Billy's eccentric grandmother. She is forgetful and a little aloof. Despite her inattention, she harbors a bitter resentment towards her dead abusive husband but has found solace through dance.
Gender: female
Age: 60 to 75
Vocal range top: F#4
Vocal range bottom: F#3
Michael
Billy's careless and fun-loving best friend. He lives in the realm of expressing oneself, going so far as to commonly dress in women's clothing.
Gender: male
Age: 10 to 13
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: A#3
Mrs. Wilkinson
The local ballet teacher who eventually becomes Billy's mentor. Hardened and mouthy, she actually has capacity for caring when she sees promise in Billy. Believes in the power of personal expression through dance.
Gender: female
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: Bb5
Vocal range bottom: Gb3
Tony
Billy's brother. A lazy but passionate miner. Hotheaded and scrappy with seemingly no regard of respect for his father, although he shares his disapproval of dance.
Gender: male
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: D3
Full Song List
Billy Elliot The Musical: The Stars Look Down
Billy Elliot The Musical: Shine
Billy Elliot The Musical: Grandma's Song
Billy Elliot The Musical: Solidarity
Billy Elliot The Musical: Expressing Yourself
Billy Elliot The Musical: The Letter
Billy Elliot The Musical: Born to Boogie
Billy Elliot The Musical: Angry Dance
Billy Elliot The Musical: Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
Billy Elliot The Musical: Deep Into the Ground
Billy Elliot The Musical: He Could Be A Star
Billy Elliot The Musical: Electricity
Billy Elliot The Musical: Once We Were Kings
Billy Elliot The Musical: The Letter (Reprise)
Billy Elliot The Musical: Finale

Show History

Inspiration

Billy Elliot The Musical, with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is based on the 2000 film, Billy Elliot. Hall also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which was inspired by The Stars Look Down, a 1935 novel that recounts the details of a local miners' strike. Like Billy's family, Hall grew up in a household that was greatly affected by the miners' strike of 1984.

Elton John saw a screening of the film in Cannes, France, and was greatly inspired by Hall's work. He sat down with Hall and proposed that they make a musical of the film. Once they were able to bring the original creative team from the movie on board, Hall agreed to it.

Productions

Billy Elliot was originally planned to premiere at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Due to the production's growing budget and theatre's financial problems, however, it was abandoned. The musical later opened on the West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre on May 11, 2005.

The show received its Australian premiere at Sydney's Capitol Theatre on November 13, 2007. It eventually transferred to Melbourne at the Her Majesty's Theatre, where it closed on June 14, 2009. The Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on November 13, 2008, utilizing the same creative team as the original London production. It closed on January 8, 2012 after 1,312 regular performances.

Billy Elliot launched multiple national tours in the United States, although they followed a rather unconventional schedule.  The first tour opened in Chicago on April 11, 2010, with an extended run at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, which started out the multi-city tour. The tour then concluded with an early closing on November 28, when it then immediately transferred to Toronto, Canada, on February 1, 2011. The second U.S. tour opened on October 30, 2010, and followed a more traditional timeline.

The musical opened in Seoul, South Korea, on August 10, 2010, as the first non-English speaking production.

Trivia

  • Bookwriter and lyricist, Lee Hall, worked with orchestrator, Martin Koch, to create a shortened version of the musical for an establishment called "Billy Youth Theatre." The program gives schools and youth groups an opportunity to stage their own production of the musical to help foster the arts and dance within Greater Britain.
  • Billy Elliot The Musical was the first musical of the twenty-first century to utilize children in starring roles.
  • The Broadway production received fifteen Tony Award nominations in 2009, tied with The Producers for the most nominations ever from a single show within a year.
  • The three actors who played Billy in the original London production were the first to win an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in a shared capacity. The young Billy actors in the Broadway production also share that distinction for the Tony Awards.

Connect

Billing

Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film.

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
The {Name of lincensee} Production of 
(33%)
BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
(100%)
 
Book and lyrics by
LEE HALL
(50%)
Music by
ELTON JOHN
(50%)
Originally directed by
Stephen Daldry
(50%)
Orchestrations by
Martin Koch
(25%)
 
Executive Producers (original production)
Angela Morrison
David Furnish
(25%)
 
Producers (original production)
Tim Bevan      Eric Fellner
Jon Finn      Sally Greene
(25%)
 
Originally Presented in London by
Universal Picture Stage Productions, Working TItle Films and Old Vic Productions
in associaltion with Tiger Aspect.
 
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film
 
The name of the licensee and the words “production of” shall be visually contiguous with the title so that the audience is informed that the licensee is the producer. 
PLEASE SEE BILLING AND MARKETING GUIDELINES FOR IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE CREDIT AND LOGO REQUIREMENTS FOR BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL.{Name of licensee}

 

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
AUDIO GUIDE1
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK40
PIANO VOCAL SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
CUSTOMIZABLE SHOW POSTER
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
KEYBOARDTEK
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO-DIGITAL SCRIPT/SCORE
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSAL ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
STAGE WRITE APPLICATION
STREAMING LICENSE
SUBPLOT CUSTOMIZED SHOW POSTER
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION: 9 PIECE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSELECTRIC BASS
DRUMSDRUM KIT
FULL SCORE ACT 1
FULL SCORE ACT 2
GUITARBANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR , STEEL STRG ACOUSTIC , 12-STRING ACOUSTIC , 6-STRING ACOUSTIC
HORN
KEYBOARD 2
KEYBOARD1 - CONDUCTOR SCORE
REED 1FLUTE , SOPRANO SAXOPHONE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 2ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET
TRUMPETCORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET

ALTERNATE ORCHESTRATION: 17 PIECE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
17PC FULL SCORE VOL 1
17PC FULL SCORE VOL 2
ALT: BASS ELECTRIC BASS
ALT: DRUMS DRUM KIT
ALT: GUITAR BANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR , STEEL STRG ACOUSTIC , 12-STRING ACOUSTIC , 6-STRING ACOUSTIC
ALT: HORN 1 FRENCH HORN , TENOR HORN
ALT: HORN 2 FRENCH HORN , TENOR HORN
ALT: KEYBOARD 1
ALT: KEYBOARD 2
ALT: PERCUSSION ANVIL , BELL TREE , CABASA , COMEDY SIREN , CONGAS , COW BELL , CROTALES , DISCO WHISTLE , FLEXATONE , GLOCKENSPIEL , GRAN CASSA , MARK TREE , MOUTH SIREN , RATCHET , SLEIGH BELLS , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , TUBULAR BELLS , VIBRASLAP , WOOD BLOCKS , XYLOPHONE
ALT: REED 1 ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
ALT: REED 2 ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE
ALT: REED 3 CLARINET , SOPRANO SAXOPHONE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
ALT: REED 4 BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , TENOR SAXOPHONE
ALT: TROMBONE 1 EUPHONIUM , TROMBONE
ALT: TROMBONE 2 BASS TROMBONE , EUPHONIUM , TROMBONE
ALT: TRUMPET 1 CORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
ALT: TRUMPET 2 CORNET , FLUGELHORN , SOPRANO CORNET , TRUMPET
ALT: TRUMPET 3 CORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET

ALTERNATE ORCHESTRATION 1: 13 PIECE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
13PC FULL SCORE VOL 1
13PC FULL SCORE VOL 2
OPT: BASS ELECTRIC BASS
OPT: DRUMS DRUM KIT
OPT: GUITAR BANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR , STEEL STRG ACOUSTIC , 12-STRING ACOUSTIC , 6-STRING ACOUSTIC
OPT: HORN 1 FRENCH HORN , TENOR HORN
OPT: HORN 2 FRENCH HORN , TENOR HORN
OPT: KEYBOARD 1
OPT: KEYBOARD 2
OPT: REED 1 ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
OPT: REED 2 ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE
OPT: REED 3 CLARINET , SOPRANO SAXOPHONE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
OPT: TROMBONE EUPHONIUM , TROMBONE
OPT: TRUMPET 1 CORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
OPT: TRUMPET 2 CORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET