Billy Elliot the Musical Makes Magic at Drury Lane Theatre

Billy Elliot, the musical that has it all, debuted at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace on Thursday.  I’ve been familiar with this movie/musical since its inception, however, I never thought I would be so blown away by  the performances, theatrics and sheer emotion this musical encompasses.  When I say this musical has it all, it has it all: extremely talented performers, great staging, and emotional highs and lows with happiness, tears, joy and anger.

You walk into the gorgeous Drury Lane Theatre and sit on their soft, velvety red seats and look out to a bare stage that is framed with beams and signage.  The lights dim, and a British speaking young boy comes over the announcement system to give you the standard theatre lingo to silence your cell phones, look for the nearest exit and to be aware that the use of fog, non-nicotine cigarette and fowl language would be used during this performance.  

Billy Elliot follows a young boy as he trades in his boxing gloves for dancing shoes. In an unforgettable story set in a small mining town in the English countryside, a dance teacher finds a diamond in the rough when she discovers Billy—a young boy with a passion for dance who inspires the entire community. The musical phenomenon is set to an explosive score by Elton John, celebrating Billy’s journey against the odds to make his dreams come true.  

This musical is directed by multiple Jeff Award-winner Rachel Rockwell (Ragtime, West Side Story, at Drury Lane Theatre, Brigadoon at The Goodman Theatre), with Musical Direction by Jeff Award-winner Roberta Duchak (Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd at Drury Lane Theatre, vocal coach for Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman for the Academy Award-winning film Les Miserables). 

After an extensive search, the title role of “Billy” is played by two very talented Chicago natives, Nicholas Dantes and Kyle Halford.  I saw the performance starring Nicholas Dantes, and was absolutely blown away by his performance.  His acting skills were so varied as he portrayed extreme sadness, great happiness and was a class-act.  His dancing skills are also impeccible.  My favorite scene was of him in a dream sequence where he flew effortlessly around the stage in a beautifully choreographed dance.

I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride the entire duration of the musical.  Dimly lit, drab sets with somber moments were followed by brightly lit and colorful explosions of happiness.  The contrasts really took you on an emotional and visual journey.  After seeing musicals and plays my whole life, this was the first musical that actually made me cry.  For the entire time, you really do get taken way from reality as you step inside this wonderuflly emotionally-charged production.

Tickets for Billy Elliot are on sale now and available by calling the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000 or visiting The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45) and 8 p.m. ($55), Fridays at 8 p.m. ($60), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($60), and 8:30 p.m. ($60), and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($60), and 6 p.m. ($55).

Photos by Brett Beiner






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