The roof was blown off of the Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre at the opening night of the Tony Award winning musical Billy Elliot. In front of a sold out crowd of over 1,300 the crowd was treated to a show that can only be described in one word “Amazing”. The entire show had the crowd feeling the energy of the moments and also had them at points laughing at the top of their lungs.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Broadway Musical Bill Elliot which has all the music composed by Grammy Award winning music legend Elton John. Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Elton John, and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film's screenplay. The plot revolves around motherless Billy, who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. The story of his personal struggle and fulfillment are balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners' strike (1984–1985) in County Durham, in North Eastern England. Hall's screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin's 1935 novel about a miners' strike, The Stars Look Down, to which the musical's opening song pays homage.
The North Shore Music Theatre’s edition of this musical was done perfectly and precisely. Most folks we talked to while leaving the theater said that this had the be the blockbuster hit of the 2015 season by Bill Hanney. Nicholas Dantes’ Brooks plays the show’s headlining actor who portray’s Billy Elliot. Nicholas acting ability along with his dancing skills cannot be described. He can hit all of his notes and all the moves with nothing but precision. His dance moves are something that should be seen on Dancing with the Stars. This is a show that had everything that broadway would require for it to be a hit. NSMT’s theatre in the round setting made this show even better. Using the full 360 round stage Nicholas and his supporting actors including Janet Dickinson who plays Mrs. Wilkinson made their dance and performance together nothing but magical. One of the highlights that I thought was amazing was during this dream sequence number in the show Billy is dancing in the clouds with what appears to be a future version of himself. An out of nowhere they do a duet dance together and then Billy is just flung into the sky and is dancing through the sky on a wire which was very magical with the setup.
What really made this evening very special was an appearance in the performance by Bill Hanney himself along with Kevin P. Hill. These two appear in the show one with having Bill perform as one fo the childs parents and then having Kevin appear on stage wearing Spandex white tights and portraying a person from Glasgow. The last 5 minutes of the show however cannot be missed with NSMT’s surprise ending. So once the show is over be sure to not leave your seat until the house lights come on and it will be worth the wait.
All in all this musical has everything to make it a hit and a show that the North Shore will not forget for the next few years. Bill Hanney has knocked one out of Boston and to the moon and put together a heartfelt memorable show that the theatre lovers will enjoy. BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL isrunning thru October 11, 2015. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Wrtier
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.