It's time for Melbourne's boys to don their ballet shoes – Billy Elliot the Musical is on its way back to Australian shores for a tenth anniversary tour. The British musical blockbuster is still a little way off, with its Melbourne opening not set until February 2020, but the producers will soon start the search for the young triple threats who will share the title role.
The musical is set against the background of the 1984/85 UK coal miners' strike and tells the story of Billy, a miner's son who dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer.
Lee Hall, who wrote the popular 2000 film upon which the musical is based, adapted the story for the stage with musical superstar Elton John, who penned the score.
Elton John said: "Billy Elliot for me is one of the most rewarding and creative works of my career. I have very fond memories of the Sydney production in 2007 as it was the first city outside of the UK we mounted the show and found many incredibly talented children who would go on to carry the show through its successful Australian run."
After opening on London's West End in 2005 – where it scored a five-star review from Time Out London – the show had its Australian premiere in 2007, winning a record-equalling seven Helpmann Awards including Best Musical. Two years later it would go on to win ten Tony Awards, beaten only by The Producers' 12 wins in 2001 and Hamilton's 11 gongs in 2016.
The initial Australian production only played Sydney and Melbourne as its set was too big and technically advanced to tour. The show has now had a few adjustments, which means it will be able to travel more extensively, opening at Sydney's Lyric Theatre in October 2019 before touring to Melbourne's Regent Theatre from February 2020, followed by seasons in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Casting and ticketing details will be announced in the coming months.
Can't wait until 2020? Check out our hit-list of the best shows in Melbourne this month.