Thursday, April 1, 2010
Elton at Billy 5th Anniversary
Sir Elton John celebrated the huge success of his Billy Elliot musical with the help of his famous friends last night.
David Walliams, his fiancée Lara Stone and Elton's civil partner David Furnish gathered at the Palace Theatre in London to mark the fifth anniversary of the West End show.
John, who wrote the music for the musical, joined director Stephen Daldry and screenwriter Lee Hall and 19 past, present and future 'Billys' for the special performance.
Since the show first opened in March 2005, it has wowed both critics and audiences, picking up four Laurence Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award and a Critics Circle Award.
Before the show began, Elton surprised the audience by walking on stage and speaking of his pride in the musical.
The singer admitted he knew the film would make a good musical as soon as he saw the original film as the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.
He said: 'I stole all the glory... It's a remarkable show with a life of its own.
Obviously you want to write the best thing you can. The story was so emotional anyway.
'It's not even about Billy, it's about the miners. What they went through.'
Daldry, who directed both the film and stage versions, admitted he wasn't sure the show would be a hit: 'When we first started performing this show I really didn't think we'd get through the end of the week.'
Hall, who wrote the story 13 years ago, was equally surprised by the film and stage success: 'I thought nobody would want to watch anything about boy ballet dancers.
'It's a real shock to have five years here in the West End given the economic climate. It's like a miracle.'
Also in attendance was the original run's adult stars Tim Healy and Haydn Gwynne, who played Billy's father Jackie and ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson respectively.
Healy said: 'It was one of those things you never forget. It was a wonderful experience for me. I'm the only one who hasn't grown any taller.'
After the London run was such a success, subsequent production opened in Sydney, Melbourne and Broadway.
The Chicago production opened last month, while Elton will travel to South Korea in August to launch another show in Asia.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/