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Billy Elliot Shines at the La Mirada Theater

 

 

Mitchell Tobin stars as BILLY ELLIOT Photo by Michael Lamont

Mitchell Tobin stars as BILLY ELLIOT Photo by Michael Lamont

By Brian Hews

Years after it first swooned into audiences’ hearts, ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’, now playing at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts with music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, musical direction by John Glaudini, choreography by Dana Solimando and directed by Brian Kite, is a rollicking fun musical that makes itself out as one of the best nights in town.

From tough miners to Tchaikovsky’s swans, it’s a great story of hope.

The musical takes a miners’ strike in Britain in 1984 as the backdrop to Billy’s story. It is a tale of “manly miners” threatened by the 12-year-old Billy’s effeminate attempts to express himself as a dancer.

Kline and company exploit that clash to the maximum. Whether you’re laughing at dirty-mouthed ballerinas or miners in ballerina outfits, Billy Elliot is both a comedy and near-tragedy.

Vicki Lewis (center) stars with the Ballet Girls. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont  

Vicki Lewis (center) stars with the Ballet Girls. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

Billy is a motherless boy living with a loving but gruff father (David Atkinson) and his grandmother, (Marsha Waterbury).

He is portrayed by the more than capable Mitchell Tobin, who took over for Noah Parets a mere five days before the show. During one of the last rehearsals, Parets broke his arm.

The musical progresses from resistance by the father and his brother (Stephen Weston) to acceptance, when the whole town unites to help send Billy to London for his big audition.

After going from a boxing ring into a ballet class, Billy becomes tutored by his inspirational teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson (the adorable Vicki Lewis), who sees the great talent in Billy.

Mitchell Tobin and Vicki Lewis. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

Mitchell Tobin and Vicki Lewis. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

Wilkinson will fight anyone who gets in her way when it comes to Billy.

Several scenes in the musical were absolutely terrific. The ballet of men with chairs, fags (what a cigarette is called in Britain), and beer glasses is incredible.

Billy’s pre-dementia grandmother entertaining Billy’s ‘bastard’ of a dead grandfather was hilarious.

The scene where a frustrated Billy slams a tap dance against an advancing line of police riot shields was extremely powerful.

And Billy’s best friend, Michael (Jake Kitchin) illuminating the thrill of dressing up in his sister’s clothes and making like Sophie Tucker in “Expressing Yourself” was a show stopper.

 

Mitchell Tobin and Jake KitchIn. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

Mitchell Tobin and Jake KitchIn.
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

The old Billy Elliot theatrical poster was right, “you’ll laugh and you’ll cry.”

Billy Elliot now playing through Sunday, February 8, 2015 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd. in La Mirada.

Show times are Wed.- Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; Sundays at 2pm. Audience Talk-Back sessions with the cast will be Wednesdays, Jan 21 and Feb. 4, 2015.

You can purchase tickets online at lamiradatheater.com or call 562.944.9801.

 

The Company of "BILLY ELLIOT."  PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont 

The Company of “BILLY ELLIOT.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont

 

 

 

 

 

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