July 19, 2010

I Can't Really Explain It

I saw Billy Elliot in Chicago with my parents this past Wednesday (7/14). This is the fourth time I've seen the show. Having seen the original London (George Maguire as Billy) and Broadway casts (Kiril Kulish and David Alvarez as Billies), this would be the third incarnation that I've seen. The staging is pretty much the same except for an added shadow dance the Billy does in the first act and that Billy's bedroom comes from stage left instead of below the stage. It's understandable because it's a touring production and not every stage will have those elevators that bring the set onstage.

Our Billy that night is a young man named Giuseppe Bausilio who hails from Switzerland. He is a very graceful dancer and very charming onstage. His Billy always soars when he is dancing. Not as lyrical as Mr. Kulish but still a joy to watch. Coming into the show, I was really excited to see Emily Skinner as Mrs. Wilkinson but alas, that night I get the slip of doom announcing that another person is playing Mrs. Wilkinson that night. I confess I was disappointed but I don't want to take anything away from Susan Haefner who played Mrs. Wilkinson because she was good.

I do have to say though, that there was something missing with the performance that night. A sparkle from the cast. I mean they were energetic and all but there was some sparkle that I've seen from the London and Broadway production that I didn't see it here. I don't know what it is (maybe it was my disappointment with the slip of doom) but I just found the first act to be dragging and I didn't feel that in previous viewings.

Giuseppe Bausilio was charming both on and off stage

the very cute Mark Page as Small Boy


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