What happens when you put the sounds of music legend Elton John and theatre together? An amazing play production called “Billy Elliot”. Stemming from the 2000 British screenplay, it has crossed the pond and made its way into theater venues across America. One of those spaces includes Stars Theatre here in Bakersfield, CA. I got to speak with the cast and crew and get a little insight into their rehearsal process and how the sounds of Elton John still translate into our world of today.
According to “Billy Elliot” director, Kelsea Johnson, the show is personal to her. “It’s actually the first Broadway show I ever saw in London with my late mentor…” says Johnson as she explains why this production was one that was picked for this season’s lineup. Nevertheless, this play can resonate with anyone that has a dream that they are too scared to take the next step in.
“[the scene] ‘Electricity’. It’s the moment where Billy is on stage by himself and he’s explaining to an interviewer why he loves to dance…because you don’t get that from everyone else in the community”–Kelsea Johnson
For Billy, this transition is as easy as learning the arabesque-not at all! Billy tiptoes around his new-found passion; one that he fears his father will reject him for. Luckily for main actors, John Gibbons and Neo De Corral, capturing the role of Billy Elliot is one that their family is very proud of! Considering Gibbons and Corral are not local to Bakersfield, they pretty much had the parts in the bag when it came to their audition submissions.
“I think that we were both very confident about this”-John Young
Protagonist, Billy Elliot, takes his eight counts from the boxing ring to the ballet studio. Although these practices are assumingly a part of two completely different worlds, assistant choreographer, Cody Garcia, affirms that they go hand-in-hand when it comes to dance and musical expression.
“A lot of the stylistic choices that you hear in Elton John’s music is very prevalent…the good energy that we all know and love from Elton’s music transpires in the choreography and what Billy’s doing and the other characters.”-Cody Garcia
With excitement, the cast will take center stage Friday, October 28, 2022 for the next four weekends! Find out more about this incredible production and how you can purchase tickets by clicking the link below!
Photo Courtesy of: Shelbe McClain