Set during the mineworker’s strike of 1984 in Great Britain, comes the story of a young man who finds the beauty and grace of ballet in the macho hard world of the cool miner. Adapted from the motion picture with music by Elton John “Billy Elliott, the Musical”, presented by the Theater League of Kansas City, opened at the Music Hall in downtown Kansas City on Tuesday night.
Though at times the dialogue was hard to understand that minor flaw could be overlooked by the powerful dance routines choreographed by Peter Darling and Resident Choreographer Adam Pelty. The immense talent that pours from the youth of Drew Minard is unbelievably fantastic. Whether he is performing tap or ballet the audience watched in awe as he went from a kid learning to box to a highly polished and skilled dancer. One of the many highlights of the show comes in the form of a shadow dance that Billy Elliott performs, with a shadow many times his size.
One of the most beautiful and exciting dances is performed by Minard and Christopher M. Howard, who plays the adult Billy Elliott. The beauty and grace of that dance alone is nearly worth the price of admission.
A moment of comedy relief is provided by Minard and Jake Kitchin, who played Michael in the Tuesday performance, when Billy Elliott adamantly states that because he dances ballet it doesn’t mean he’s a puff. This would be more believable if he wasn’t wearing a skirt and blouse and dancing with a dress. Kitchins is magnificent as Michael and added “Expressing Yourself” to the list of best moments of the play.
It is hard to believe that one young person can be as talented as Drew Minard, but apparently there are three others; Ben Cook, Noah Parets and Mitchell Tobin who will perform as Billy on the Kansas City stage for the run of the production.
Another moment to remember from the play is when Grandma, played by Patti Perkins, and Billy Elliott dance together. I found that particular dance to be highly entertaining and sensitive at the same time.
There are far too many talented performers to mention them all, but Janet Dickenson as Mrs. Wilkinson, Rich Hebert as Dad and Cullen R. Titmas as Tony were outstanding in their respective roles. If this play was a sport they would all make the highlight reel.
“Billy Elliott, the Musical” continues at the Music Hall through Sunday January 27.