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Everett Arts Center presents 'Billy Elliot'

 


‘Billy Elliot’ which is now playing at the Everett Arts Center is well worth the price of admission.

The musical is based on the movie of the same name, and is set in Britain in the 1980s during one of the longest and most violent labor strikes in that country’s history. Billy Elliott lives with his widowed dad, and his brother in County Durham where the coal miners are on strike, skirmishes with police happen daily, and concern about how to feed their families is uppermost in everyone’s mind. In the midst of the turmoil, Billy discovers a love for dance — specifically ballet … a talent definitely not supported by his family nor the town. Only the local dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, believes in Billy.

As director Steve Tomkins states in the program, “At its root, this is a story about the promise of dreams and the power of community. It’s about a kid who had no chance in an artistic endeavor; it took an entire village to support him getting there.”

The cast of big, tough, loud coal miners are played by men known locally in Village Theater, 5th Avenue and other regional theater productions. Their numbers are sung with gusto and performed in conjunction with wonderful choreography. Mari Nelsen, in the role of Mrs. Wilkinson, is a delight to watch. Other notable performances are Faye B. Summers as Billy’s supportive grandmother, Jasmine Harrick as Mrs. Wilkinson’s daughter Debbie, and Quinn Liebling as Billy’s friend Michael.

Audiences will see one of four 13-year-old boys in the title role of Billy: Nikita Baryshnikov, Vincent Bennett, Bito Gottesman or Philipp Mergener. If each of them is as good as the opening night’s Billy, expect to see a good performances every night.

As always with Village Theater, the set and scene changes happen seamlessly, the lighting and orchestra are terrific, and the choreography engaging.

NOTE: The script does contain some four-letter words, so parents of young children are cautioned.

Billy Elliot plays from July 8 to July 31, at the Everett Performing Arts Center at 2710 Wetmore Ave, Everett. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday/Thursday; 8 p.m. on Friday, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There will be a special matinee on July 28th. For tickets or more information call 425-257-8600 or go to http://www.villagetheatre.org/everett.

 

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