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Elton John World News: Changes in Store For ''Billy Elliot''

Changes in Store For ''Billy Elliot''-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday 15 September 2005 @ 16:22 - GMT

Beginning September 19, a new dancer will star in Billy Elliot, the September 14, 2005 Playbill has announced.

Thats the date when Leon Cooke will play the title role at London's Victoria Palace.

The 14-year-old is a graduate of the BillyElliotAcademy, which was set up by the shows producers specifically to train new child stars for the musical. Leon, a Newcastle resident, will be joined by a new cast of ballet girls and 13-year-old Joey Phillips as the new Michael.

In a press statement, Leon said that his ambition is to be as good as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Angela Corella from American Ballet Theatre . . . When my sister Zena took me for the first audition in Manchester I had no idea that I would get through.

Joey added, Music has always been played in my house and when I was little I used to try and make up dances. He has appeared in amateur productions of Oliver and Les Misérables.

Still in the cast will be alternating Billys Liam Mower and George Maguire, as well as adult actors Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Tim Healy as Dad and Ann Emery as Grandma. The producers are Working Title and Old Vic Productions.

A huge box-office hit, the show has been seen by more than 250,000 people since opening in March 2005. It is currently booking through April 1, 2006. There are currently no plans for another press night to review the new cast members.

The show is written by Lee Hall with music by Elton. Stephen Daldry who, alongside Hall, was behind the award-winning film version, directs.

For more information, call (0)870 895 5577 or visit www.billyelliotthemusical.com.