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Is one Billy best of the three?


Lankypeters
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I'm curious if anyone has seen the new musical "Billy Elliot" more than once and with different actors as Billy. Any comparisons among the actors?

 

I saw Trent Kowalik and David Alvarez. Both are wonderful, offering different slants on the part. Yet I'd give the edge to Alvarez, who has a vulnerability, a star quality Kowalik doesn't have. Alvarez is breathtaking in the ballet numbers; Kowalik not quite so good, though his step dancing training came through wonderfully in other numbers. I notice that Alvarez did most of the critics' performances and always seems to go on when there's a benefit or someone famous (e.g. Hillary Clinton) in the audience. Is he the best? A friend saw the show with Kiril .....? ... and was disappointed in the whole enterprise.

 

The TONY committee just ruled that all three actors playing Billy will be eligible for the TONY nominations.

 

 

Lankypeters

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I saw Billy Elliot with Kiril Kulish and I thought he was amazing, so thought my client, so thought the people who cared to review the show starring Kiril Kulish. Check this link out: http://www.broadwaybox.com/reviews/theater/billy_elliot_reviews.aspx

 

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/22/arts/Billy1650.jpg

 

From left, David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik

 

 

From the NYTimes:

 

"The three Billys are different — intriguingly, they each order a different flavor of milkshake — but have at least this in common: they are extremely talented dancers, says Stephen Daldry, the director of the musical.

 

“Trent is probably one of the most genius tap dancers we’ve ever come across, so he’s had to learn ballet,” says Mr. Daldry, who also directed the movie. “David and Kiril are exceptional ballet dancers; these are probably the best kids in the world right now, but they’ve had to learn tap.”

 

The show changes depending on the boy: the choreography is different, and some of the music varies (even the keys are changed, requiring the adult actors to adjust their performances).

 

All the boys started dancing at an early age and already have résumés that would be incredible for someone 20 years older. They sometimes even talk that way: “I haven’t been to an arcade in ages,” the 14-year-old Kiril says nostalgically.

 

But none of them had previous acting or singing experience, which, Mr. Daldry says, was the idea: dancing chops are the first criterion; the ability to learn an arsenal of new skills in a relatively short time is the next; that elusive star quality seals the deal.

 

David and Trent are shooting some bad guys together, so Kiril (strawberry shake), explains his story: his sisters were interested in dance but didn’t have an opportunity to pursue it when the family was moving to California from Ukraine. They encouraged Kiril to train seriously, which he did, starting at 8. He would go on to perform internationally with the American Ballet Theater and win top prizes in ballet and ballroom dancing.

 

“There was this person at the studio where I was who kept calling me Billy Elliot, and Mom and I never knew what he was talking about,” says Kiril, who stands with his feet turned out dancer-style.

 

Now he knows. A teacher encouraged him to try out for an audition in Los Angeles, he made it to a New York call-back and soon after he got the call. The celebratory dinner was at the Cheesecake Factory.

 

While Trent and Kiril crash into each other around a race track, it is time to hear from David, 13 (chocolate). A dancer friend of his parents, Cuban immigrants to Montreal, saw David’s talent early on. The family moved later to San Diego, and David began training with the American Ballet Theater. (He also plays classical piano and speaks three languages, in case you were feeling relaxed.) But he still didn’t think he was qualified for “Billy Elliot.”

 

“I didn’t know tap, I didn’t know any of those things,” David says. The production scouted him out more than a year ago, and asked a teacher to push him to audition. When he got the job, it was off to Pizzeria Uno.

 

Trent, 13 (vanilla), is a little less eager to open up, for he is the veteran, having starred in the London production of “Billy” for several months. He started earlier than the other two, trying, at his home in Wantagh, N.Y., to imitate the “Riverdance” dancers. At 3 ½, he was too young for Irish dance school, so he began training at another school (at no cost, because it needed a boy). It worked out pretty well. He later won the World Irish Dancing Championship. At 11.

 

Trent was cast as Billy in the London production last year after a year and a half of auditions. The news for him was bittersweet; he would have to (and did) leave his home in Long Island and live in London with a local family while in the show. His family visited once a month. Trent says he loved working in the production; he’s not so hot on London the city."

 

 

Steven Draker ~

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I, too, saw David Alvarez and agree with the way he seemed to capture the audience.

 

I'm actually kind of hesitant to see it again with one of the other two guys. I think I'd always be comparing them to Alvarez. He truly was amazing!!

 

Prior to purchasing a ticket, do they list who will be playing Billy for that performance? Is there a published schedule?

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>I, too, saw David Alvarez and agree with the way he seemed to

 

>

>Prior to purchasing a ticket, do they list who will be playing

>Billy for that performance? Is there a published schedule?

 

The actor playing Billy is announced an hour before curtain time. I read that even the actors learn who plays on the night/afternoon of performance. The same procedure applies in London, where the show originated.

 

The idea, I guess, is that is word gets out -- as it is here and elsewhere -- that if one actor is superior in the part, patrons will want tickets only for that actor.

 

BTW: this show, which garnered superlative reviews and sold out in its first few weeks has droped to around 85 percent of capacity, another sign of the economic downturn's harm on Broadway. I believe discount tickets are available on some sites, e.g. Playbill.com

 

"South Pacific" also no longer sells out and offers dicsount tickets (albeit for $95.) to mid-week perfromances.

 

 

>

 

 

Lankypeters

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>BTW: this show, which garnered superlative reviews and sold

>out in its first few weeks has droped to around 85 percent of

>capacity, another sign of the economic downturn's harm on

>Broadway. I believe discount tickets are available on some

>sites, e.g. Playbill.com

 

For the past few months I've been checking around for discount tickets for Billy Elliot. They are not available at the TKTS booths and I can't find any discounts on-line.

 

The two times I went I paid full price and had excellent seats in center orchestra. The first time Billy was played by Kiril Kuliah. I enjoyed his performance very much, he's a gifted dancer but not much of a singer.

 

When I had the opportunity to see Billy Elliot for a second time, David Alverez had the lead and what a difference he made... IMO, David was much more comfortable with the part than Kiril. He's definitely a better dancer and performer. He received a standing ovation after he did his "anger" dance number, the dance after the Christmas party, the one with older Billy, and at the finale. He truly energized the much appreciative audience. When I had seen it with Kiril he wasn't able to pull off the same reaction.

 

It's a must see play if you're in NYC. The next time I attend, I'll check to see that Trent has the lead.

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In London, when the show started, there was indeed one Billy who got the most raves. About the time he left the show, I went to see it. The person playing Billy that night was an Asian lad named Mathew Koon. He was utterly fantastic.

 

When I saw the show in New York, David Alvarez played the part. He is good, but no Mathew Koon. Koon had a great voice, could dance, memorize all of those lines, but also had a charisma that allowed him to command the stage even in the presence of the adult characters.

 

I think the bottom line is that if the Billy who is playing the day that you see it is good, then that's enough. Stop searching for a better Billy. It could get expensive!

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I'm gonna be the party pooper. I saw it Alvarez and I thought the whole thing was horrible: coreography, songs, acting, accents (not one person had a northern England accent) and story (none). I think this play completely destroys the movie.

 

I did enjoy Billy's friend and the drag number...if only the rest of the show had been like that.

 

Dick (I wanted to love Billy Elliot) Ho

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One clarification, the three boys playing Billy will be eligible JOINTLY for the Tony Award.

 

 

From the press release: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish are eligible to be considered jointly in the Leading Actor in a Musical category for their performances in Billy Elliot the Musical.

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