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"Billy Elliot", B'way dance show reviewed by Macaulay

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This is a very nice review by Macaulay of the new show 'Billy Elliott', which a lot of ballet-lovers are going to want to see. It's got his usual lexicon of 'supreme', 'overwhelming', and general hyperbole ("Does Billy himself know whether he has achieved beauty?" which made me howl), but he's got some interesting points from which to determine whether you want to see an Elton John show (" a great musical in which the music is never better than good..." etc.), and other useful matters like none of the choreography being of interest as such to dancegoers. As well as observations about Andrew Lloyd Webber's conservatism that I didn't know. I think he stayed in the U.K. despite Tony Blair, though (what an important point...)

There are other reviews of this in the Times and elsewhere, of course, but I'll add something on my own topic's off-topic but related: Skip the 'Irving Berlin's White Christmas' thing. I saw this generic horror based on the old classic film in 2005 in LA, and it is so bad it is truly not good--Isherwood's review is nothing if not generous...


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I saw "Billy" a few days before it opened and I found it to be as touching as Macaulay wrote. There isn't much one can add to this review. I was never much of a fan for British musicals and I saw this with much trepidation. It had the emotional punch of great American musicals--'Oklahoma', 'Carousel' and 'South Pacific'. I was so pleased that the "Swan LaKe'" of the film was absent from the musical. The pas de deux of the young Billy and his grown-up self (marvelous Stephen Hanna) inserted in the middle of the musical was glorious. Be sure to have Kleenex with you.

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I saw Billy Elliot last night. It was very enjoyable, and I'm sure it will run for a long time. The music by Elton John is pretty good. If you're a serious ballet fan like me, the ballet choreography will look very basic and elementary. In fact, the show has at least as much tap dancing as ballet. I think there were a lot of people in the audience who have never been to the ballet who were gasping in amazement at the relatively simple ballet movements executed by Billy (Trent Kowalik last night). It follows the story of the movie fairly closely, except that Billy's mother appears as a ghost (which is not in the movie). Stephen Hanna does a duet with little Billy, and also has a very brief speaking role. The choreography is a walk in the park for someone like Hanna, who is in my opinion way over-qualified for this easy role. (Why would he give up a contract as a principal w. City Ballet to do this role?) In sum, an enjoyable (but pricey) evening. We spotted in last night's audience Nathan Lane and Elaine Stritch.

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