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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:24 am 
Tall Boy
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:04 pm
Posts: 104
Location: Ohio
I really believe that there are three important pieces of information every newbie to the show should know:

1) The general plot outline

2) Something about British culture as it relates to the show. Explain that this is a truly British product brought over here (don't get me started on the "Why don't they make it so we Americans can understand every little detail...") The Brits also have a tradition that some call the "Gang Show" which is kind of like our local community variety shows. Cross-dressing is often a part of those shows (the Brits find cross-dressing much more hilarious than we do in the U.S.) I let newbies know that there are two numbers "over the top" but that they really reflect the culture. Maybe something about the strong language.

3) Something about the miner's strike and its impact on Britain in the 1980s. Some production programs go into a good amount of detail, some do very little. Most people, I'm afraid, don't read the background on this before the show.

Then I tell them that they will see something extraordinary - that they will see kids perform at a level no one would think possible. And to enjoy the show.

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:29 am 
Debbie
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 am
Posts: 1036
Location: Rain
^ I like.

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:54 am 
Billy

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:52 pm
Posts: 2573
Location: (near) London
I am a regular visitor to the Victoria Palace theatre in London and have seen the show about 25 times,including seven in the last ten days. On the last three occasions I have been seated next to American or Canadian couples (or families). Obviously there is very little time to talk to them before the show starts,but if I see them looking at the Programme I usually start to talk to them to say which boy is playing Billy,tell them that there is strong language (they usually say they are used to that) and just tell them that are about to see an uplifting and heart-warming story of a 12 year old boy and to witness some amazing dancing. I am pleased to say that each and everyone of those people who have sat next to me recently have not gone away disappointed.Last night's family were all on their feet applauding at the end of the show.

I have to agree,though,that the show is not only about ''a bairn who wants to dance''.

dancingboy


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:57 pm 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 745
Location: Williamstown, NJ
Great job, dancingboy. It seems that if people new to Billy Elliot The Musical get a chance to talk to someone familiar with the show and get a pre-show briefing, then their enjoyment of the show is greatly increased.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:52 pm 
Tall Boy
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:04 pm
Posts: 104
Location: Ohio
I agree. In Cleveland the Playhouse Theater put on information sessions before most of the shows. They covered the background, the plot, the different music styles represented in the show, the miners' strike, and answered questions. It was a fantastic set-up to the show (done by the theater group, not BETM). Friends who were new to the show said they really gained a lot from that going in. I think knowledge beforehand gives some the chance to appreciate the nuances and layers in the show that they might not get until they went back again (and again, and again....) :D

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:03 pm 
Ballet Girl
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:30 pm
Posts: 262
I would think that watching Billy Elliot the movie, would help for a greater understanding of the show. It was actually quite the opposite for me. I watched the movie a few years ago and was not much taken in by the plot. After 3 Billy shows, I watched the movie again last weekend which I very much enjoyed as I had a greater understanding and appreciation of the storyline.

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“The dance is over, the applause subsided

but the joy and feeling will stay with you forever.”


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:59 am 
Ballet Girl

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 308
So much of the aforesaid has been my experience in Chicago and all venues since, Tampa, Minneapolis, Toronto, London and NYC. Engaging others in conversations by dropping hints to get them started has always been a delight for me. And, of course, when I inform them that I've seen the show 40+ times [in so many varied venues] they are absolutely incredulous, and proceed to ask me all sorts of questions about the four Billies, the film, the story line, etc. Hopefully, I've been somewhat successful in enhancing their excitement about what they were about to see, or at intermission, to measure what has always been their overly enthusiastic and positive responses to the first act. I rather think that has been a common experience we've all had, and after all, is a full measure of our own love for this musical.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:25 am 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 745
Location: Williamstown, NJ
Perhaps I should change the title of this thread to "Introducing Family, Friends and Strangers to Billy Elliot The Musical". I, too, find it fun to brief and de-brief others about the show.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:50 am 
Mr Braithwaite

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:10 am
Posts: 745
Location: Williamstown, NJ
paul30003 wrote:
I would think that watching Billy Elliot the movie, would help for a greater understanding of the show. It was actually quite the opposite for me. I watched the movie a few years ago and was not much taken in by the plot. After 3 Billy shows, I watched the movie again last weekend which I very much enjoyed as I had a greater understanding and appreciation of the storyline.


So many people were disappointed by the fact that the musical was not the same as the film, that I would have to recommend that, if your family or friends have not seen the film, tell them to wait until after they see the musical. I think that viewers of the film will feel let down without the corny happy ending of the film. The musical is much better than the film, and more true to real life.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family and Friends to Billy Elliot The Musical
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:23 am 
Debbie
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 am
Posts: 1036
Location: Rain
The film is my all time favorite. I saw it something like 25 times in the last 10 years and still liked the musical just as much if not better when I finally got a chance to see it in April. Both are excellent.

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