CP

CRAFTPlayers (Council Rock Arts For Teens)

  • Billy

    March 6 & 7, 2020

    Newtown Middle School Auditorium

     

    I am so pleased to announce CRAFTPlayers will present Billy Elliot, The Musical this year.  Set in 1984/85 Dunham County, England, it centers between an eleven year old boy, who aspires to become a professional ballet dancer, and his family, which is involved in one of the largest worker [coal miner] strikes in modern times.  It is a story filled with heart break, triumph, and the imperishable spirit of a child.

    There is both a movie and a video of the stage production available.  Same story, with slightly different endings.  In either case, get out the Kleenex.  Should you download a cast recording from itunes, you will hear strong language, reflective of a very specific culture and moment in time.  Swearing in the play is often used to capture certain ‘rhythms’ and informality of speech and is not meant to specifically cause offence.  It is firmly in a British tradition which allows more robust language into its drama.  I am well aware of our school community’s norms and problems with specific words and will substitute some less provocative words and phrases in our production where appropriate.

    Mark ME Dolan, Director

     

    Billy Elliot

    A boy who stumbles upon a ballet class and develops a passion for dance. To him, dance is a way to feel whole and free himself from the problems of life. He finds himself stuck between appeasing family and chasing his newfound love.

    Dad (Jackie Elliot)

    Billy's stoic father. A widowed miner struggling with maintaining a household in lieu of a work strike, he is still deeply scarred by the death of his wife. Billy's dancing initially sends him into a rage but he learns to support his son.

    Debbie Wilkinson

    The ballet teacher's daughter. A bit stand-offish and argumentative, her childhood crush on Billy leads her to constantly discourage him.

    Ensemble

    Miners (Big Davey, George, Lesley, and others); Ballet Girls (Angela Robson, Tracey Atkinson, Keeley Gibson, Tina Harmer, and others); Police Officers; Royal Ballet School Members (Clipboard Woman, Posh Boy, Posh Son, Dancer)

    Grandma

    Billy's eccentric grandmother. She is forgetful and a little aloof. Despite her inattention, she harbors a bitter resentment towards her dead abusive husband but has found solace through dance.

    Michael

    Billy's careless and fun-loving best friend. He lives in the realm of expressing oneself, going so far as to commonly dress in women's clothing.

    Mrs. Wilkinson

    The local ballet teacher who eventually becomes Billy's mentor. Hardened and mouthy, she actually has capacity for caring when she sees promise in Billy. Believes in the power of personal expression through dance.

    Tony

    Billy's brother. A lazy but passionate miner. Hotheaded and scrappy with seemingly no regard of respect for his father, although he shares his disapproval of dance.

     

    Act One

    In County Durham, the 1984 – '85 coal miner's strike is just beginning ("The Stars Look Down"). Motherless eleven-year-old Billy is required to stay behind after his boxing class, and finds his way into a ballet class run by Mrs. Wilkinson. He is the only boy but becomes attracted to the grace of the dance ("Shine"). The secret is easily kept initially, as the only person home at the time is his grandmother. She reveals her abusive relationship with her dead husband and that she, too, loved to dance, which made everything all right ("Grandma's Song").

    While his brother, father and neighbors are on strike and clash with riot police, Billy continues to take dance lessons, keeping it a secret from his family ("Solidarity"), a number which intersperses the violent reality of the strike with the peaceful practice of ballet.

    Eventually, Mr. Elliot discovers Billy in the ballet class and forbids him from attending the lessons. Mrs. Wilkinson recognizes Billy's talent and privately suggests that he should audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. To prepare for the audition, she offers him free private lessons. Billy is not sure what he wants to do, so he visits his best friend, Michael, for advice. He finds Michael wearing a dress, who then persuades Billy to have fun with him by dressing up in woman's clothing and disdaining the restrictive inhibitions of their working class community ("Expressing Yourself").

    Billy arrives for his first private ballet lesson, bringing with him things to inspire a special dance for the audition ("Dear Billy – Mum's Letter"). He begins learning from, and bonding with, Mrs. Wilkinson while he develops an impressive routine for his audition ("Born to Boogie"). Mrs. Wilkinson's daughter, Debbie, tries to discourage Billy because she has a crush on him. Meanwhile, Billy's father and brother, Tony, are engaged in daily battles with riot police that often turn bloody. They struggle to support the family with very little in strike and union pay, a difficult task that goes on for nearly a year.

    When the day of the Royal Ballet School audition comes, police storm through the village and injure Tony. Because Billy had not come to the miner's hall to get picked up by Mrs. Wilkinson for the audition, she goes to the Elliot's home. There, Billy's family and some members of the community have gathered. She is forced to reveal that she has been teaching Billy ballet in preparation for this very day. This news upsets Billy's father and Tony, who get in an argument with Mrs. Wilkinson. Tony tries to force Billy to dance on the table in front of everyone. The police approach and, as everyone escapes, Billy calls out to his father, saying that his mother would have let him dance, but his father refuses to accept that, retorting, "Your Mam's dead!". Billy goes into a rage ("Angry Dance") and, for nearly a year, stays away from anything related to ballet.

    Act Two

    Six months later at the miner's annual Christmas show, the children put on a show disparaging Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who is seen as the antagonist by the coal miners ("Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher"). Billy's father gets drunk and sings an old folk song that elicits memories of his deceased wife, and the usually stoic man leaves in tears ("Deep into the Ground"). Left alone with Billy in the Community Centre, Michael reveals he has feelings for him, but Billy explains that the fact that he likes ballet does not mean that he is gay. Michael gives him a kiss on the cheek and tries to get Billy to show him some dancing, but Billy is sad and just tells him to leave.

    Michael departs but leaves a music player running. Billy feels like dancing for the first time since the day of the aborted audition and dances while dreaming of being a grown-up dancer ("Swan Lake"). Unknown to Billy, his father arrives and watches him dance. Overcome with emotion, his father goes to Mrs. Wilkinson's house to discuss Billy's prospects as a dancer. She confirms Billy's talent, but is not sure whether or not he would get into the Royal Ballet School. Mrs. Wilkinson offers to help pay for the trip to London for the audition, but Mr. Elliot refuses. He leaves, questioning his working-class pride and the future mining has for his boys.

    Mr. Elliot decides that the only way to help Billy is to return to work. When Tony sees his father cross the picket line, he becomes infuriated. The two argue over what is more important: unity of the miners or helping Billy achieve his dream ("He Could Be a Star"). The argument eventually comes to blows, and Billy is hit accidentally. One of the miners chastises them for fighting and says that the important thing is looking after the child. One by one, the miners give money to help pay for the trip to the audition, but Billy still does not have enough for the bus fare to London. A strike-breaker arrives and offers him hundreds of pounds. An enraged Tony attempts to shun his donation, but no one else speaks up in his support. Now drained of hope, Tony dismally ponders whether there's a point to anything anymore and runs off.

    Billy and his father arrive at the Royal Ballet School for the audition. While Mr. Elliot waits outside, an upper-crust Londoner highlights the contrast between the Elliots and the families of the other applicants. Mr. Elliot meets a dancer with a thick Northern accent. The dancer confesses that his father does not support his ballet career. He sharply advises Mr. Elliot to "get behind" his boy. Billy nervously finishes the audition with a sinking feeling that he did not do well. As he packs his gear, he lets that emotion overwhelm him and he punches another dancer who was trying to comfort him. The audition committee reminds Billy of the strict standards of the school. They have received an enthusiastic letter from Mrs. Wilkinson that explains Billy's background and situation, and they ask him to describe what it feels like when he dances. Billy responds with a heartfelt declaration of his passion ("Electricity").

    Back in Durham, the Elliots resume life, but times are tough and the miners are running a soup kitchen to ensure everyone is fed. Eventually, Billy receives a letter from the school and — overwhelmed and fearful, knowing that it heralds the end of the life he has known — he informs his family that he wasn't accepted. Tony retrieves the letter from the waste bin and discovers that his brother was not telling the truth. At the same time, the miners' union has caved in; they lost the strike. Billy visits Mrs. Wilkinson at the dance class to thank her for everything she did to help him. Debbie is sad that Billy will be leaving.

    Billy packs his things for the trip to the school and says goodbye to the soon-to-be-unemployed miners, who are returning unhappily to work ("Once We Were Kings"). Billy says goodbye to his dead mother, who often visits him in his imagination ("Dear Billy – Billy's Reply"). Michael arrives to say goodbye, and Billy gives him a kiss on the cheek. Billy takes his suitcase and walks out to his future alone.

    The entire cast comes out on stage and calls Billy back to celebrate the bright future ahead of him ("Finale").

     

     

    Meet the CRAFTPlayers Team!

    Mrs. Kristen Zarutskie, Producer

    Mrs. Erinn Demskis, Producer

    Ms. Dana Joy Carducci, Dance Tech

    Ms. Andrea Cerviello, Theatrical Direction

    Mr. Ken Ambs, Technical Supervisor

    Mrs. Pat Verona, Assisting Director

    Ms. Jennifer Colantonio, Wardrobe

    Mr. Bob McCarthy, Concessions

    Mr. Doug Demskis, Set Construction

    Mr. Keith Wiggs, Set Construction

    Mrs. Sandy Hoffenson, Ticketing/House

    Missed South Pacific??

    Here are some great pictures from our Photographer, Lynn Goodwin!