Billy Elliot: The Musical (Live) on the Big Screen

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Review By Eric J. Grimm

Smash musical ‘Billy Elliot’ will hit the big screen for three performances in November. ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical Live)’ is a slick, well-shot production geared toward both diehard fans and those who may have missed the show during its Broadway run from 2009-2012. The filmed version of a September, 2014 performance on the West End captures the spectacle of the show while some additions contribute to an energetic, jam-packed three-hour running time.

Adapted from Stephen Daldry’s Oscar-nominated film from 2000, ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’ is faithful to the story of the working class British boy who discovers a passion for dancing that clashes with his father’s machismo during a contentious miner’s strike. That often quiet movie has been transformed into a hyperkinetic theatrical experience. The show barely lets up as the stage frequently morphs into different settings, performers furiously hoof it in many scenes, and even a dozen or so dancing garments fill the stage for a few twirls.

 
It’s purely theater for those who wish to be dazzled. The audience I saw it with was mostly comprised of children, which surprised me due to the frequent coarse language in the show, but the message of being an individual seems to have resonated strongly with them as they clapped and sang along throughout.

The spectacle doesn’t stop with the performance. The larger-than-life Sir Elton John, who composed the music, appears on screen to welcome the audience at the beginning. After an already dance-heavy curtain call, there’s even more breakneck excitement in a dance-off with over two dozen former Billys from the show’s nearly ten-year run on the West End. All of these elements show that ‘Billy Elliot’ is a musical phenomenon with little sign of slowing down as many international productions roll out.

‘Billy Elliot: The Musical (Live)’ will screen on November 12, 15, and 18 at Regal Union Square, AMC Kips Bay, and AMC Empire 25 in New York City. For tickets, visit www.fathomevents.com/Billy-Elliot‎.

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