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Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

It’s been a fabulous week of theater-going. The national tour of Billy Elliot the Musical has streamlined production qualities but a lavish abundance of talent. The performances are as fresh as the opening night on Broadway (and yes, I was there). At Shea’s on Tuesday, young Ben Cook was perfection as Billy. Janet Dickinson is cynically sublime as his ballet teacher. I’ve long adored Patti Perkins, who makes an indelible mark as Grandma. Rich Herbert gives a fabulously moving performance as Billy’s dad. This is the story of a little boy from an English coal-mining town during the Thatcher years who finds he prefers ballet over boxing. I cried through the whole thing and had a fantastically good time! The cast includes a bevy of adorable and talented little girls and a sweet comic performance by little Sam Poon as Billy’s cross-dressing pal, Michael. The show continues through Sunday.

Opening Shots

Billy Elliot, the Musical

left: Buffalo actress Lisa Ludwig with Ben Cook, who played Billy on Tuesday, and Christopher M. Howard, the Niagara University graduate who is marvelous as Older Billy and the Scottish dancer at the Royal Ballet.

right: The amazing adults of Billy Elliot, who give a lesson in how to keep a show fresh: Studio Arena alumna Patti Perkins, who is terrific as Grandma; Rich Herbert, wonderful as Dad; and delicious Janet Dickinson, who is sublime as Billy’s long-suffering ballet teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson.