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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:09 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:22 am
Posts: 81
October 20, 2010 MAT
Billy:Marcus
Michael:Keean
SB: Mark
Other: Big Davey-Kent Lewis
SEAT: $25-limited View: DCIR-L, Row DD, Seat 5 (sat in seat 1 closest toward the stage because no one was in my row)
Sitting in the dress circle on the far left I got a good look at the tech stuff with the show. I could see MT puppet being ready to be hoisted up. He head is brought up by the same cable that Billy flys on. The arms are lifted up by crew members.

I'm sorry....I thought I could give him another chance...but I do not connect to Marcus in this role. I tried. He may need to work on his acting a bit more. His signing voice is nice. I think Marcus is strongest in dream ballet. He has great sync with older Billy and his dancing is beautiful. One of the best. I don't know if it was where I was sitting, but Marcus' tapping was completly out of sync with the music during Angry Dance. I did not notice this the first time I saw him. He did this funny bit when packing the suitcase with dad...he took the sweater, put it over his head, and danced around.

Wanted to add...I love Will Mann as Mr. B. It is so funny seeing this very large man with all these tiny girls. And then when he dances with Billy in BTB, hilarious!

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Chicago
Billy: Giuseppe x1, JP x2, Marcus x2, Tommy x1, Cesar x2
Michael: Keean x4, Dillon x3, Jack x1
Debbie: Maria x8, TB: Spencer x6, Kennedy x2, SB: Mark x6, Elijah x2

NYC
Billy: David Ax1, Tanner x1, Trent x1
Michael: Keean x1, Frank x2


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:10 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:22 am
Posts: 81
Oct 27, 2010 - EVE
Billy: Cesar
Michael: Keean
SB: Mark (in 6 shows I have yet to see the other SB. No worries, Mark is sooooo cute)
Other: Older/Scottish Billy- Nicholas Torress, Mr Wilkinson- Kent Lewis
SEAT: ORCH-L, Row E, Seat 13 - sold as a $25 limited review seat (got it <1h before the show). This was really a great seat in general...the obstructed view part included when they were sitting on the chairs you couldnt see down the line and during Dream Ballet, Billy blocked the view of Older Billy in the chair part because of the line of sight. Can't beat the price/location. When you go the the box office just ask for $25 limited view seats on the main floor.

Finally! It took 6 shows (only 1 repeat Billy), but I finally got to see my Cesar.I have really wanted to see him because he gets such great reviews. If I can catch Myles before the show closes in Chicago I will have gotten to see all the boys who played Billy here in Chicago.

Wow...Cesar...Wow. This kid has got it all...dancing is superb, Acting is top notch, singing is not bad. I was so happy after following the billy tracking on the other site. I guessed it would have to be Myles or Cesar tonight. I wanted to see either so I went and bought tickets. Board said Cesar!! Cesar plays a serious Billy, with an attitude.

Express with him and Keean was hilarious. Cesar plays this part as a boy who has no idea what to do with a dress...the way he holds the skirt, shirt. Their tapping is fabulous. I love Keean in the role so much. Keean did miss the dress toss, but went on like a pro.

Angry dance - WOW! Cesar was throwing himself all around the stage. There was a tiny slip when trying to get up near the front of the stage, but Cesar continued on. This was very powerful and just amazing. I hate the Chicago box, but he made it work well...it may have helped that this is the first time i sat near the box and could actually see in it.

Christmas scene-MCMT- Spencer and one ofthe ensemble members were doing their own dance moves at the far end of the stage that were pretty funny. During the Barbie part, Cesar seems to attempt some serious damage on her head with the beer can. And I swear I saw him trying to look up the doll's dress.

Electricity- This is perfection. His ballet is great, his acro is great, his singing is good. Cesar actaully got a very lengthy applause after this number and it went on for a minute or so.

I think I have figured out who board member Colin is...I will introduce myself next time I think I see you. (You were sitting in the ORCH-C toward the right, first few rows from the front?)

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Chicago
Billy: Giuseppe x1, JP x2, Marcus x2, Tommy x1, Cesar x2
Michael: Keean x4, Dillon x3, Jack x1
Debbie: Maria x8, TB: Spencer x6, Kennedy x2, SB: Mark x6, Elijah x2

NYC
Billy: David Ax1, Tanner x1, Trent x1
Michael: Keean x1, Frank x2


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:34 pm 
Audience Member

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:22 pm
Posts: 8
I realize forum user "gpcolo" posted a link on Oct. 11th to a youtube clip of Tommy Batchelor exiting the stage door after his last performance but found it interesting there is a clip of him right before he exits the stage door. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KvB_EPT4Ko

Then the link outside the stage door. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e53EIpV5QN8

It's more interesting watching them in this order.


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:11 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:02 am
Posts: 8297
Location: Rhode Island, USA
nexradwx wrote:
It's more interesting watching them in this order.
I realize forum user "gpcolo" posted a link on Oct. 11th to a youtube clip of Tommy Batchelor exiting the stage door after his last performance but found it interesting there is a clip of him right before he exits the stage door. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KvB_EPT4Ko

Then the link outside the stage door. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e53EIpV5QN8

It's more interesting watching them in this order.


You're right, it was VERY interesting watching them in that order. What a character! :p


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:50 pm 
Audience Member

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:22 pm
Posts: 8
Here are a few more youtube videos that I believe were posted by Dillon Stevens (Michael) or somebody close to him approximately a month ago.

This one is called "friends" and has several photos of the young cast with Dillon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZfN-w8Pj2o

This vid is called "Billy Elliot Kids Halloween" which has many young cast members in costumes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF1OwHa7QMU

Here's one called "MTV cribs" after Dillon had just completed day 3 of rehearsals in Chicago back in the summer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbvxz5unaUY

At the top left of the video click on the link to view "centerstage14's" channel where you will find several more videos of Dillon (22 vids uploaded as short as a week ago up to a year ago)

There are several of Dillon dancing with his dance troop. He's fun to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Grandma
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Posts: 1180
Location: Columbia, Maryland, USA
First of all, my apologies for how late this is - the show closed in Chicago several months ago, and has now opened in Toronto, and I am finally getting around to jotting down some thoughts about this production, thanks to an unexpected SNOW DAY!!

I visited Chicago twice - once in June, and then again in October for Tommy's final performance. I loved Chicago - what a neat city! As for BETM - the adjustments for the tour have really worked well - the changes to the staging work, and in some cases make the scene transitions even better than the original production in my opinion. Of note, in the “Stars look down” opening number, dad can now be a part of this scene, and at the end, he calls for Billy, and wanders over stage left as the kitchen/bedroom scenery shifts into place. It works. Also, when Billy goes to boxing class, he walks down the steps as the kitchen/bedroom scenery is moving off stage left – Billy stops on the steps, looks for his mum, and then steps off the set and into the boxing scene. And the most effective use was in the pre-Letter scene... Billy runs upstairs, after the Tony/dad confrontation, and then as he is coming down the steps, he grabs the cup of soup and can of beans to put in his bag. It is clear that he is just grabbing these items as an afterthought. And then he sits down behind the piano. I really like how this scene works, as Billy looks so vulnerable sitting there, having just witnessed the ugly fight between his dad and his brother.

There are many things that I liked very much about this production, some I felt neutral about and some I disliked... Actually, most of things I disliked are things about the US production versus the UK production, rather than specific to the tours. Without going into too much about the dislikes, I will just say that I much prefer the UK Angry Dance! The other scene I don’t like too much in the US production is “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher.” I don’t like how they use the children in this scene. I believe it is the miners fight first and foremost, and having the children wearing the MT masks, and then coming on dressed in miners clothes – just does not work for me. I do find the UK version handles this much better, with the children only doing the final bit in their angelic costumes – now THAT is funny! The rest of the scene is fine, and I like how Billy, Michael, Tall and Small Boy open up the scene.

So much for dislikes, now on to the likes. Actually, I love Armand Schultz’s interpretation of dad! In fact, he is my favorite US dad! I remember reading some of the early reviews that did not like him too much, so I was not sure what to expect, but I loved him. His dad is world weary, and it shows. His version is more serious, and he does not play it as much for laughs, which make some of the funny scenes even funnier, like with posh dad and the Scottish dancer. He is a great actor, and he plays it as a man just tired by the events in his life who is barely able to hold it together. I love how he acts at the end of Electricity – he is so clearly moved and amazed by his son’s performance. Both in NYC and on the second tour, Dad makes this gesture at the end, sort of a tough “that’s my kid” kind of attitude. Armand just plays it straight – he just nods in amazement – beautifully done, and always brought a tear to my eye. His transformation with regard to Billy’s dancing is beautiful to behold, and his joy when he learns Billy got into the school is palpable.

The other performers in Chicago were all great – beginning with Emily Skinner as Ms. W. (shades of Hadyn?), and Cynthia Darlow as grandma. On my second Chicago trip, Ms. W. Was played by Susie McMonagle, as Kate Henning had not yet started. Susie originally played dead mum, and did a fine job in both roles! I managed to miss Blake Hammond as Mr. B during both my visits, and saw understudy Will Mann, who was great fun! I think he eventually took on the part full time. Saw Patrick Mulvey as Tony in June, but during the October visit, saw two outstanding understudies as Tony, once again showing the amazing depth of the cast. Patrick played the role in a more light-hearted manner in the beginning – his Tony does a great deal of growing up in the course of the show, from a seemingly happy go lucky joker to a passionate advocate for the strike. An interesting transformation... Understudy Jason Babinsky was terrific and had the added bonus that he resembled Armand Schultz some, so he was very believable as Tony. He did not come across as much as a goof-off at the beginning, but was every bit as passionate and believable. Tony Clarno was the other Tony I saw and he was excellent as well.

So, what about the kids???? Maria Connelly did a terrific Debbie, a Broadway transfer who brought her wonderful talent to the Chicago production. Sadly I missed Guiseppe on both Chicago trips, and had to wait for Durham to see him. My first Chicago Billy was Cesar Corrales, who was paired with Gabriel Rush as Michael. I loved Cesar’s Billy – his was a more serious Billy – notably in Grandma’s song, he watched his grandma intently, and rarely smiled, even at some of the funnier moments –as if he was wise beyond his years, and understood in some very intuitive way the depth of how difficult her life really was – beautifully acted. Cesar’s acting, dancing and singing were flawless, and I found myself completely captivated by his performance. Then there was Tommy Batchelor, teamed with Keean Johnson, the “old” pros from Broadway. What a delight to see both of them again. Tommy’s Billy is pure joy to behold, and I always leave the theater uplifted by a Tommy show. And finally, I saw JP Viernes, once again paired with Gabe Rush. J.P. is tiny, and seems to fall more in the “happy” Billy type, though not as happy as Tommy’s Billy. Another incredible young performer – actually I was surprised to learn he was 14 – he is so tiny. Enjoyed Gabe Rush as Michael as well. When I returned to Chicago in October for Tommy’s last show, I was fortunate to see two Tommy/Keean shows, and also witnessed JP Viernes again, this time with Dillon Stevens , and Marcus Pei, with Keean. Dillon is adorable, and has unique additions to his Michael that made everyone laugh. Sadly I missed Cesar on this second trip as I would have loved to see his Billy again – we did run into him at a local restaurant and had a lovely chat with him – he informed us that he was recovering from a minor injury and would be back on stage shortly. Marcus is another terrific addition to the Billy family – strikes me as a more serious, intense Billy, but I need to see him again to decide. JP gave another flawless performance, and delighted us all. We also met Myles Erlich, who was hanging around the stage door, but was not quite ready to start yet – I believe he started within the week. Another tiny little guy taking on such a HUGE role. Seeing these kids at the stage door, I realize what a huge responsibility they are carrying on their young shoulders! But the weekend belonged to Tommy who wowed us with two incredible performances. I have always enjoyed his Billy, and this weekend was no exception. Tommy was still at the absolute top of his game – beautiful singing voice, beautiful dancing and beautiful acting. At his final performance, I found myself feeling sad from time to time for myself really, not for Tommy – he went out in style! His Angry Dance was amazing – we gave him a standing ovation, and he just stayed completely in character and glared at us – wow, wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley! At the very end of the show, when he was on stage by himself, he did this funny little shuffle with his feet, like he was having fun knowing it was his last moments as Billy. Also, on the chair lift, he let out the loudest “Finish” I have ever heard. He was completely charming at the stage door.

So much for my two fabulous Chicago trips. Looks like there may be a trip to Toronto some time in my future to try to catch some of this amazing cast again.

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<- A new use for the Billy Bag!!!


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:22 pm 
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Dad
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:22 am
Posts: 1663
Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA
Thanks Maria - better late than never! ;)

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:04 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4060
Location: Rochester, NY
Thanks for writing the review Maria. It was very well written. With both you and Sean posting reviews 3-4 months after the fact I guess I am going to have to finally write my reviews from my November trip. I had hoped there would be a statute of limitations, after which you no longer have to write a review, but I guess not. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: October 2010 Reviews - Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 am
Posts: 17590
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
The Chicago section will be "collapsed" before long, as there is no need to keep the whole section active, but the Reviews threads will still be available.

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"I don't want people who want to dance; I want people who have to dance.”
-George Balanchine 1904 -1983


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