The adult stars of the Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical are a great selection of Kiwi acting, singing and dancing talent.
Alongside the six boys who will play Billy and his friend Michael, is Jodie, daughter of Burgundy’s legend Debbie Dorday. Jodie plays the role of Billy’s beloved dance teacher, Mrs Wilkinson.
The role was made famous by Julie Walters in the 2000 movie about the boy, against the odds of his upbringing, learns to dance. Walters received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and won the Bafta.
Auckland stage star Stephen Lovatt will play Billy’s dad Jackie, and acting legend Rima Te Wiata, currently starring in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, will follow up that stage role by playing Billy’s grandma.
It’s an exciting time in the Auckland theatre world, and for the ATC. The show is the premiere production for Auckland’s new ASB Waterfront Theatre at Wynyard Quarter in October.
Dorday, who has travelled and lived all over the world, now lives in Bali and is excited about coming home for four months to perform in a production she loves. "I think the Billy Elliott story resonates with any audience around the world. It’s about solidarity, fighting for what you believe in and having faith in what can be a tough world sometimes. Kiwis are a tough breed . . . they’ll love it." she said. "It’s a fun ride and the Mrs W character taps, sings, dances —does it all!
"I’m really looking forward to catching up with the iconic Miss Rima Te Wiata, one of NZ’s best talents and one of the funniest, brightest women I know. We’ve worked together in film and in theatre, so I’m looking forward to catching up with her, and probably laughing myself silly over and over again.
"Steven Lovatt and is a fabulous actor and person. It helps to know that you are in such great company and to know that you’re going to have a ball. It’s also the first play in the fabulous new ASB waterfront theatre — thank you ASB! — so thrilled to be one of the first to tread the boards," said Dorday.
Another big Kiwi dancing talent, Black Grace’s Daniel Cooper, will play the older Billy Elliot.