"Billy Elliot" raises the barre at Civic Center
From the coal mines of northern England to the cornfields of central Iowa comes “Billy Elliot the Musical” — winner of 10 Tony Awards, including 2009’s Best Musical. Based on the internationally successful film, “Billy Elliot” is brought to life at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines by the creative team of writer Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and musical great Elton John.
Set during 1984s year-long miners’ strike in England during Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister, “Billy Elliot” follows the journey of an impressionable 11-year-old boy named — not surprisingly — Billy Elliot (played by the trio of Zach Manske, Ty Forhan and Kylend Hetherington throughout the tour) as he grapples with his family’s image of him and who he wants to become.
Early on, the audience learns that Billy’s coal mining father, Jackie (Rich Hebert), scrapes up enough money for his young son to take boxing lessons — a sport Billy despises. Lagging behind after one particularly unpleasant lesson, Billy happens across a ballet class using the gym as practice space and accidentally joins in. When his father finds out about the lessons, he forbids his son to continue with the class. But Billy defies his father and continues secretly meeting his ballet instructor, Mrs. Wilkinson (Susan Haefner), who encourages him to audition for the Royal Ballet School.
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