Cesar Corrales as Billy Elliot

By Sandy Graham


Music by Elton John.

Book and lyrics by Lee Hall.

Directed by Stephen Daldry.

At the Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria St.

416-872-1212 Mirvish Productions

In may ways the similarities are obvious. Scarborough-born David Furnish, husband and co-writer on the score for Billy Elliot, we would assume had to fight a similar battle. Growing up in a middle-class neighbourhood of Toronto, being gay, being creative. It all matches up. The fact that Furnish was in attendance with Sir Elton John on opening night in Toronto, Canada shows the full circle of the story behind the story.


Cashbox Canada was not at the opening night, but we did hear that the audience were leaping to their feet, cheering in the middle of the show`s second act, and that you know is something extraordinary for  Toronto audience, who are usually quiet staid even at the best of times. Most of the applause,they said,  was obviously for young Cesar Corrales, who is hands down the best of the Billy Elliots both  in London and New York.


Billy Elliot, the play version, was created from the low budget smash hit film of 2000; the movie that Stephen Daldry made from Lee Hall's screenplay told two interwoven stories: that of a British town and its people struggling for their very existence during the brutal miners' strike of the 1980s, as well as that of a young man whose mother has recently died and finds in dance the one source of meaning in his life. The story is centred around Billy Elliot, the sternly determined young man who was — quite literally — dancing for his life.


The creators of the film had the insight and smarts to allow this movie to be brought to the stage and add someone with John's passion for this particular story. It's all carefully crafted music that suits the characters and their situations, not a bunch of mismatched pop tunes.


Mirvish Productions has done it again. David Mirvish took a big chance, and wrote a big cheque we are sure, to make this show a reality in Toronto – the theatre town of Canada.