Leicester’s Curve is celebrating after its production of Billy Elliot the Musical was named Best Regional Production at the 23rd annual Whats On Stage Awards.
The WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theatre awards nominated and voted for by the public. The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 12 February.
Directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, the Made at Curve production of Billy Elliot the Musical ran 13 July to 20 August 2022 and was the first new UK production of the acclaimed show. Across the musical’s run Curve welcomed almost 40,000 audience members from Leicester, the UK and across the world. The musical featured a cast of 56 – including 38 young people, most of which were Midlands-based or had local family connections.
This isn’t the first piece of silverware Curve has picked up for Billy Elliot the Musical, with the production winning Best Musical at the UK Theatre Awards last year.
Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:
“Thank you to our incredible Leicester audiences and all those from further afield who voted Billy Elliot Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards. These awards are always special, as they are voted for entirely by the public and we are grateful to all who saw the show and took the time to vote. There is incredible work happening in our great theatres up and down the country and it’s “cush” our work has been recognised in such a strong year of shows.
“Thanks to our principal funders, Arts Council England and Leicester City Council who help make shows like Billy Elliot at Curve possible – long may public funding for the arts continue.
“Thanks also to Team Curve, our phenomenal cast and creative teams, and those at Working Title Films and Music Theatre International for being such a vital part of this journey.”
Billy Elliot the Musical is based on Stephen Daldry’s hit 2000 film, and features music by Elton John with book and lyrics by Lee Hall.
In Curve’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical, the titular role of Billy Elliot, the miner’s son with a passion for ballet, was played by Leo Hollingsworth, Alfie Napolitano, Samuel Newby and Jaden Shentall-Lee, who also took to the stage at the WhatsOnStage ceremony with a breath-taking performance of ‘Electricity’.
Billy’s dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson was played by West End and Broadway legend Sally Ann Triplett, with Joe Caffrey,who previously performed in the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical, as Billy’s Dad Jackie.
Michael, Billy’s best friend was performed by Bobby Donald, Lucas Haywood, Ethan Shimwell and Leicester’s Prem Masani.
All hailing from the East Midlands, Pearl Ball, Caitlin Cole, Lola Johnstone and Ellie Copping shared the role of Debbie, Mrs. Wilkinson’s daughter.
Broadway and West End sensation Rachel Izen played Billy’s Grandma Edna, Luke Baker (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the Made at Curve UK tour of Grease) played Billy’s older brother Tony and Jessica Daley (previously seen in Made at Curve productions of White Christmas and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber) played Billy’s Mam.
The adult company also included Craig Armstrong as George, Minal Patel as Big Davey, Cameron Johnson as Mr. Braithwaite, Micky Cochrane as Scab, Robin Paley Yorke as Lesley, Christopher Wright as Mr. Wilkinson, Michael Lin as Pit Supervisor, Jonathan Dryden Taylor as Posh Dad, William Atkinson as Older Billy and Steph Asamoah, Tori McDougall, Anna Rossa and Louie Wood as members of the ensemble.
The young company of ballet dancers and boxers featured Willow Adamson, Maddie Seren Ashley, Oliver Back, Aneeka Kaur Bains, Ella-Rose Blackburn Price, Harvey Clarridge, Lily Corkill, Miley Dalton, Matisse Didier, Isabelle Francis, Rahul Gandabhai, Isla Granville, Uzziah Gray, Orlaith Rae Hunt, Ava Rose Johnson, Ava Mia Komisarczuk, Kyrelle Lammy, Lienna-Jean Langdon, Tahlia Maddox, Lorcan Murphy, Nesisa Mhindu, Sophia Pirie, Hayden Polanco, Gopal Thacker, Mirabelle Varakantam and Ethan Galeotti.
The Made at Curve production of Billy Elliot the Musical was by choreographed by Lucy Hind, with Musical Supervision and Musical Direction by George Dyer. The set was designed by Michael Taylor with costumes designed by Edd Lindley.The creative team also included Lighting Designer and Curve Associate Ben Cracknell, Sound Designer Adam Fisher, Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl, RYTDS Resident Assistant Director Lilac Yosiphon, Birkbeck Trainee Director Thyrza Abrahams, Associate Choreographer James Berkery, Dialect Coach Elspeth Morrison, Fight Director Kev McCurdy and Head Chaperone Helen ‘H’ Mclaren-Frost.
Children’s casting was managed by Jo Hawes, with adult casting led by Curve Associate Kay Magson CDG.
Earlier this month Curve revealed details of its 2023 Made at Curve Christmas musical, a new revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. Directed by Nikolai Foster, the production will run 27 November 2023 to 13 January 2024. Tickets will be on sale soon.