Set in the small English town of Eastington in 1984, “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” the winner of ten Tony Awards, follows the story of Billy as he finds a love for ballet and must convince his miner father that dance is what he should be doing.
The show features music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee Hall. It uses the miners’ strike of 1984 and financial depression of that time as the backdrop for the complexities and depth of the Elliot household.
The overall theme of the show is acceptance for oneself and love for others. Lead actress Megan Van De Hey (The Toxic Avenger) feels those ideas are what are important in our contemporary era moment.
“I think in our current political climate and social climate there are times we are told not be ourselves or tamper who you are,” she said.
Van De Hey feels this is a story of how the human spirit endures.
“You watch as Billy basically has the whole town behind him and he evokes this pride and passion for the entire town,” Van De hey said. “Which is exciting to watch.”
Playing the title role is 14 year old Lucas Moir (A Christmas Story). This is one of the most challenging teenage roles in a musical as Moir not only has to sing but also tap dance and do ballet. His character is on stage for 90 percent of the show which does not allowing for many breaks.
Moir jokingly said that the experience has been very exhausting, but rewarding.
“Billy is a very angry kid,” he said. “Before dance he doesn’t have anything to express himself and so he is very temperamental and quick to anger and judgement. Once he stumbles into this dance class, I think something sparks inside of him and he is just free.”
Van De Hey plays Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s dance instructor, who keeps a personal and cold distance from the boy. The icy relationship between the two does not carry over off stage though. During our interview Van De Hey couldn’t stop praising the young man.
“He is more professional than half of the professional actors on stage,” Van De Hey said. “He is the most polite and hardworking and always on top of his stuff. Can you tell I love this child?”
This production reminds the audience that even in bad situations and dark times, hope can be found in unexpected places.
“For the whole town their dreams have died,” Van De Hey said. “Billy is this sudden light that they can all get behind.”
Billy’s dream to get into dance school and become a professional ballet dancer is infectious enough to lift the spirit of the bleak community and give the town something to rally behind.
“Everyone needs a break from the current ugliness,” Van De Hey said. “This is one of those shows that should ignite a flame and a light of hope under everybody.”
Eighty miles east of Denver this production, presented by Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, only plays for three more performances.
“Billy Elliot: The Musical” is now playing at Breckenridge Backstage Theatre at the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave.,Breckenridge CO, 80424. Directed by Christopher Willard. Starring: Lucas Moir, Megan Van De Hey and Robert Michael Sanders. Through Sept. 3. For tickets visit breckcreate.org or 970- 547- 3100