Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An Evening At The Theatre

When I discovered that Billy Elliot The Musical was going to be playing at the ASU Gammage while I was in Tempe I made immediate plans to attend.

Right after class I walked from CHQ to the Gammage Auditorium. I had decided to purchase my ticket at the Box Office instead of messing with an online purchase. For $50.50 I got a first row, first tier balcony seat (68). I grabbed a chicken pesto salad at the Portico Café, and reviewed the Playbill.

Unfortunately we did not get to see Faith Prince as Mrs. Wilkinson. Beverly Ward played the role well enough. Our Billy was Giuseppe Bausilio, 13, who hails from Bern, Switzerland and enjoys cooking, skiing, swimming, reading, speaks 5 languages, studies kung fu, cello and piano. And oh, he's a trained ballet, modern, jazz, flamenco, hop-hop, and tap dancer. Of course.

Overall the show did not reach the levels of excitement I had expected. The "Angry Dance" which was performed with gusto at the Tonys, was only ho-hum. While certainly capable, Giuseppe lacked, well, the anger of the piece. His "Dear Billy" (Mum's Letter) duet with Mum (Jennifer Evans) and Mrs. Wilkinson brought tears to my eyes. Heartwrenchingly beautiful. "Dear Billy" (Billy's Reply) was equally so.

My absolute favorite scene was the Billy and Older Billy ballet/aerial dance. Maximilien A. Baud, who played Older Billy, was wonderfully mesmerizing. Again, the simplistic beauty of their performance brought tears to my eyes.

Jacob Zelonky played Michael, Billy's BFF. He is one talented kid with perfect comic timing. His performance and personality during "Expressing Yourself" filled the stage as much as the come-to-life dresses did.

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