The Producers of Billy Elliot the Musical have announced the adult cast for the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour which opens at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in October 2019, followed by seasons in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide in 2020.
Starring as the tough but supportive ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson will be Kelley Abbey – one of Australia’s most accomplished performers, internationally renowned choreographer and award-winning creative director. Kelley began her career in the long running TV series E Street before starring on stage in productions including Sweet Charity, Grease the Arena Spectacular and Fame the Musical.
Her incredible choreography earnt her a Helpmann Award for The Boy from Oz Arena Spectacular as she has proved to be one our country’s most creative and innovative doyens of dance and live performance. It is only fitting that she now steps into the shoes of Mrs Wilkinson to guide Billy through his unique dance journey.
“I am so thrilled to be playing Mrs Wilkinson and returning to the stage in such a heartfelt and moving show as Billy Elliot the Musical,” said Kelley. “In my career I have been directing, choreographing and mentoring so many dancers, that playing Mrs Wilkinson who teaches and mentors young Billy, seems a perfect fit! There’s nothing more exciting than nurturing young people to transport themselves via dance and really connect with their authentic selves.”
Justin Smith joins the cast in the role of Dad, Billy’s stoic father. Justin is an acclaimed theatre and screen actor with musical credits including Jesus Christ Superstar and Rent. Most poignantly he also starred as Tony, Billy’s older brother in the original Australian production of Billy Elliot the Musical – so it will be very special to see Justin take the generational leap and take on the role of the Dad in this heartwarming story.
Playing Billy’s eccentric Grandma is actress Vivien Davies. Her extensive career has seen her perform in musicals including Les Misérables, Menopause the Musical, Buddy and Dusty as well in many and varied productions with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Billy’s hot-headed brother Tony will be played by Drew Livingston. Drew’s stage work has seen him work extensively since graduating from WAAPA in 2010 including productions for the Sydney Theatre Company and in the acclaimed Australian production of the National Theatre’s War Horse.
Award winning actor Robert Grubb stars as George, a miner and the town’s boxing coach. Robert is one of Australia’s most versatile actors having worked extensively on stage and screen starring in many and varied television and film roles including Flying Doctors, Mad Max, and Gallipoli. Robert’s musical theatre credits including MAMMA MIA! the Musical, Sunset Boulevard, We Will Rock You – which earnt him a Helpmann Award and most recently Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Other adult cast members who will form this outstanding company include Dean Vince (Mr Braithwaite), Danielle Everett (Dead Mum) and (in alphabetical order) Justin Anderson, Dion Bilios, Josh Gardiner, Isabel Hawthorne, Matt Heyward, Barbara Hughes, Caroline Kaspar, Alexander ‘Zan’ Kermond, Zoë Komazec, Sarah Kate Landy, Michael Lindner, Joe Miller, Joshua Russell, David Sirianni, Lisa Sontag, Darren Tyler and Paul Whiteley.
“The outstanding talents of the adult cast including Kelley Abbey, Justin Smith and Robert Grubb, will ensure a special night out,” said Australian Producer, Louise Withers. “We are privileged to have this remarkable adult company who will soon be joined by the 4 extremely gifted boys who will play the inspiring lead role of Billy. This 10th Anniversary Production will certainly be celebrated with this world class cast.”
The audition process continues for the incredibly talented children who will also be a part of this powerful cast with exciting announcements transpiring in the new year.
The hugely successful West End musical premiered in Australia in 2007 as the first international production outside of the UK, prior to its Broadway premiere. With the first Australian tour concluding in Melbourne in 2009, this new 10th Anniversary Tour kicks off in 2019, ten years after the curtain came down in Australia.
Billy enjoyed huge critical acclaim with Sydney and Melbourne audiences flocking to the theatre, however the physical design was so complex at the time, that touring beyond those two cities was not possible. Now with some clever adjustments, the Producers are delighted that this incredible stage production is able to tour to other capital cities. Now all of Australia can experience the magic and fall in love with Billy Elliot the Musical.
Based on the film of the same name, Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, gritty, heart-warming and feel-good celebration following the journey of a young boy raised in a small British mining town. Set against the backdrop of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family, the whole community and changes his life forever.
Billy Elliot the Musical was brought to the stage by the multiple award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show’s score. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.
Featuring music by the legendary Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical has been seen by almost 12 million people worldwide. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, it is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including 10 Tony Awards, 5 Olivier Awards and 8 Helpmann Awards.
Billy Elliot the Musical opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre in October 2019 followed by seasons at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne from February 2020, Crown Theatre Perth from June 2020, QPAC Lyric Theatre, Brisbane from July 2020 and the Adelaide Festival Centre from September 2020. For more information, visit: www.billyelliotthemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Kelley Abbey, Justin Smith, Vivien Davies, Drew Livingston, Robert Grubb, Dean Vince and Danielle Everett to star in Billy Elliot the Musical (supplied)