When the laurel-laden production “Billy Elliot the Musical” opens in Chicago in March, it will star 3 young boys with astonishing talents. The dancers will alternate in the role, and Broadway in Chicago introduced the trio—and their moms and caretakers—to the press Sept. 10.
The Broadway show, based on the 2000 film about an English boy who overcomes his working class background and becomes a professional dancer, won 10 Tony Awards this year, including Best Musical. It begins its nationwide tour March 18 in Chicago with an extended run at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre on Randolph Street.
The 3 boys, who were chosen for the role in Chicago from among 1,500 who auditioned, are Tommy Batchelor, 14, Giuseppe Bausilio, 12, and Cesar Corrales, 13. During the presentation for the press, they danced, answered questions and posed for pictures, leaping in the air several times to satisfy the photographers.
In the first row of the auditorium sat three women who were accompanying the boys, a chaperone and two mothers who would each take care of her charge when he was not on stage.
“Each boy will be in 2 to 3 shows a week,” explains Maeva Dourthe, who is the stand-in for Corrales’s parents. His parents are ballet dancers from Cuba who have a ballet school in Montreal. Cesar grew up dancing.
Corrales was born in Mexico, but his family soon moved to Montreal. At 4 he performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in “Madama Butterfly.”
“He was very interested in gymnastics,” Courthe says. And apparently he was very good at it. He placed first at the Coupe Quebec gymnastics competition in 2008, then he went to the National Ballet School in Toronto.
According to Giuseppe Bausilio’s mother, Sonia Milo, the boy danced before he was born. “I danced when I was pregnant with him,” she says. Milo and Giuseppe live in Bern, Switzerland, where she runs a ballet school. Another of her sons dances at the Paris Opera Ballet. “Giuseppe loves every kind of dancing,” she says, “ballet, modern, hip-hop, flamenco … ”
Tommy Batchelor is one of the Billys now dancing in the Broadway production and he will transfer to the Chicago show when it arrives here. “Tommy became interested in dance when he was about 3,” says his mother, Rebecca Batchelor. “He loved movies with Gregory Hines and Fred Astaire.” The family lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and one of the young dancer’s credits was a starring role in Miami City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
The three young stars will have a highly structured schedule, which will include school work and dance classes every day.
“Billy Elliot The Musical” earned Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Leading Actor, Best Featured Actor, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design
Elton John wrote the music and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall. Choreography is by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry. The production opened on Nov. 13, 2008, at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre.
Tickets for the Chicago production are currently on sale to groups of 20 or more by calling 312-977-1710. The Broadway In Chicago 2010 spring/summer subscription series go on sale in September. Single tickets will be sold in November and range in price from $28-$100. For more information,visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.