Music Theatre International to License Hit Elton John Musical Billy Elliot
By Adam Hetrick
Music Theatre International has acquired worldwide licensing rights for the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Billy Elliot, which will debut in two U.S. regional productions this summer.
The MUNY in St. Louis, MO and the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME will be the first two professional companies to stage the musical that has music by Elton John, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall. The MUNY production will run June 16-22, with the Ogunquit staging to follow June 25-26.
"Billy Elliot continues to be one of the most celebrated, award-winning musicals of our time and has been seen by over eight million people worldwide," MTI president, Drew Cohen said in a statement. "We look forward to building on this success by bringing the musical to an even wider audience as regional theatres, community theatres and high schools across the country will soon have the chance to perform the show on their stages. Billy Elliot's story is universal and we know the show's inspiring message will now resonate with a new generation of performers and audience members."
MTI has not set a target release date for widespread licensing availability for the musical about a young boy who defies convention in his small U.K. mining town and takes up dance.
Based on the hit film, Billy Elliot premiered in London in 2005 and continues its West End run. The hit musical opened on Broadway Nov. 13, 2008, at the Imperial Theatre and ran over 1,300 performances. The musical earned ten 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Musical. Billy Elliot was originally choreographed by Peter Darling and directed by Stephen Daldry.
Music Theatre International also licenses Elton John's Aida and the upcoming Broadway JR version of The Lion King.
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