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Elton John World News: Breaking ''Lion King'' and ''Billy'' Developments

Breaking ''Lion King'' and ''Billy'' Developments-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday 11 December 2009 @ 16:43 - GMT

Genevieve Lemon has parlayed her Helpmann Award-winning performance as dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot the Musical into a role in the latest U.S. production of the show.

The actress will next month move to the States with her family for rehearsals for Billy Elliot's opening in Chicago in March.

"I feel incredibly lucky; it's something you don't expect when it's actually an English play," Lemon told the Weekend Australian.

Casting Australians in American theatre productions is not straightforward, as producers need to convince U.S. Actors Equity that non-green card holders will bring something unique to the role.

The executive producer of Billy Elliot the Musical in Australia, Louise Withers, said it was "an absolute tribute to Genevieve and her star factor in that role."

Director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and producers Working Title Films cast Lemon in the Australian production of Billy Elliot after she delivered a knock-out audition, and also after they saw her in Priscilla the Musical.

Meanwhile, as mentioned some time ago by this Web site, Lion King tickets went on sale on December 5 for a Madison, WI engagement.

The Overture sold over 8,000 tickets, dwarfing the previous record for single-day sales of a single event, set in 2007 when 2,962 tickets were sold for Spamalot. In fact, the totals even surpassed the venues biggest overall sales day, when patrons bought just over 6,000 tickets for the 80 performances on the entire 2006/07 season, including Mamma Mia and Cats.

Madisons most eagerly awaited stage production will begin performances at Overture Center for the Arts on Tuesday, April 27 for a limited 4-week engagement through Sunday, May 23. The opening night is Thursday, April 29 at 7:30 pm. With 8 performances a week, there are still 30,000 tickets available, although weekend matinees have limited availability. Weeknight and Sunday night performances have the best choice of seats.

That Saturday was a great day for us and a great day for Madison, said Overture Center President & CEO Tom Carto. "The energy and excitement here at Overture was incredible. We're thrilled to bring this one-of-a-kind show to Madison."

The first ticket buyer arrived at 10:15 p.m .on Friday, December 4, and when the Box Office opened at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, there were over 300 people in line. Throughout the day Magic 98 and Q106 broadcast live; the Wisconsin State Journal provided complimentary copies of the morning paper; Kneaded Relief Day Spa and Cameo Spa Salon offered free massages, and nearly two dozen other area businesses had special offers and gifts for those waiting in line.

And there is currently an opportunity to nab four tickets to the Overture's opening night at