It seems fitting that my first post after the death of my musical-theatre-loving grandmother is about a musical...
Seriously, my grandmother-- Vange-- loved her some musicals. I don't know for how many DECADES she subscribed to Massachusetts' North Shore Music Theatre (side note: last I heard, NSMT was shutting down... I don't have time to investigate, but it looks like they're very much still in operation. Good news!), but it was a lot of decades. Vange's favorite musical: MAMA MIA because it combined two of things she loved more than anything else in the world-- musicals and ABBA. Seriously, the woman loved ABBA so much that someone put an ABBA CD in her casket at the wake (my boyfriend made the gruesome joke: "I sure hope she finds some way of listening to it... maybe bumps into some avid jogger who was buried with her Walkman." Groan. But funny.).
Anyway, that's neither here nor there... the musical that Broadway Across America is bringing to Louisville this week is BILLY ELLIOT, another of the long tradition of movie musicals. At least this one was a movie about dance.
I've never seen the film, but it was such a pop culture hit, I do know a little bit about it. Here's the story from the BAA Louisville website:
Based on the Academy Award nominated 2000 film of the same title, Billy Elliot is the story of its namesake star, a young boy in a depressed working-class mining town in the North of England. Set during the history-making 1984 miner’s strike, the show follows Billy, the youngest child of a blue-collar family that has recently lost its Mum, as he discovers his unlikely and extraordinary gift for ballet. While Billy’s father and brother take to the picket lines of the violent and life-changing strike, Billy secretly begins to study the art of dance with the help of a hard-drinking, chain-smoking local dance teacher. But as Billy blossoms and thrives, the world and lives around him continues to wither—and his only escape may be the prestigious Royal Ballet School, a place no working-class boy has ever gone, or been allowed to go to, before.
I don't know who writes the copy for the BAA website, but I kind of love the "Should I See It?" section because it is unfailingly honest. The short answer for this musical is yes, if you don't mind your musicals on the "dark and complex side," and no for little kids under eight or so.
I'm pretty interested in seeing this. Those of you who know me know that I was a "bunhead" for most of my childhood-- took dance classes from age 3-18 and did a little choreography in high school and college. The show opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday. It's a long one-- 2hr50min with an intermission.