Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NC Theatre: Billy Elliot featuring NC Star Talent!

Last night was opening night in Raleigh for the NC Theatre's production of Billy Elliot at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The show runs through this Sunday, February 15th and you can get tickets now from the NC Theatre website. The Raleigh cast includes some outstanding North Carolina star power. Ira David Wood III and Ira David Wood IV are cast as Billy's father and older brother. They both do an excellent job in conveying the anger and frustration of this historically tumultuous and violent time in the Northern England coal fields in the 1980's.  Margaret Thatcher was opposed to the National Union of Mineworkers and was determined to shut down the unions. The strike lasted a year, with the unions ultimately broken down and the industry virtually dismantled.

In the midst of all this, Billy Elliot (played by Sam Faulkner), the youngest child of his family, accidentally stumbles on ballet and dance and discovers he has a true rare talent as a dancer. Trying to pursue his newly discovered passion is almost impossible as it conflicts with his responsibility to his family in the middle of very trying times in his family and community as a whole. He tries to keep his new found passion a secret but in the end, his true desire to follow his dreams wins out.

The show deals with serious themes, but they manage to interject several funny and heartfelt moments, especially from Ira David Wood III. I brought my 15 year old daughter who is passionate herself about dance and theater. She loved the show as well. However, I would not recommend bringing kids much younger than her due to strong adult language used often.

Another NC talent, the young Sam Faulkner does an amazingly great job as Billy Elliot. Sam is from Charlotte and is truly a rising star.  He is engaging to watch and several of the dance numbers are magical. The group numbers are fantastic. The changing of sets on stage is creative and well done. All the cast members do a great job in their performances, including the dance instructor, Mrs Wilkinson, played by Janet Dickinson, mixing serious moments, with lighthearted fun.

I appreciated the opportunity to get to see this show, especially to take my daughter along with me. Thank you to NC Theatre and to Leigh Hines and her new #OutAboutNC community. North Carolina has so much to offer and you can share and follow along by using the hashtag #OutAboutNC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Get out and support your local performing arts and see this show packed with North Carolina star talent! It's a great idea for Valentine's Day!

Below I've included some amazing pictures from last night's show taken by Curtis Brown Photography.


Ira David Wood III and Sam Faulkner

Sam Faulkner and the ballet girls

Sam Faulkner and Maximilien Baud
Janet Dickinson and Sam Faulkner

Sam Faulkner and Maximilien Baud

Sam Faulkner

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