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Elton John World News: Elton John and Stephen Daldry launch "Billy Elliott - The Musical

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At the Royal Acedemy of Music on June 22, 2004 in London

Wednesday 23 June 2004 @ 7:29 - GMT

Elton John has launched the new Billy Elliot musical and told how the story mirrored his own life.

The hit British film has been adapted for the West End stage and Elton has written the music

Elton John and Stephen DaltryHe unveiled four of the songs as he explained why the subject was so close to his heart.

The story of Billy, a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer in the face of fierce opposition from his father, has close parallels with his own struggle to make it in the music business.

While young Billy made it into the Royal Ballet School, Sir Elton won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music aged 11.

"Doing this musical has been one of my passions," the star said. "When I first saw the film I was so moved by the story because I could relate to it from a personal point of view. I was sobbing in my seat at the end and had to be carted out."

"My relationship with my father was similar to the one Billy has with his father. I was always trying to prove something to him. When Billy's father comes to see his son in Swan Lake at the end of the film, that hit a nerve with me. That was one of the things that drew me to the whole project.

"I also had a difficult relationship with my father when I was growing up, but sorted it out in the end. Billy's story reminded me of my own life."

The star's partner, David Furnish, is one of the musical's executive producers. The £5 million production opens in November and the search for a young star to play Billy is nearly at an end.

The musical which is directed by Stephen Daltry, right, who directed the film, "Billy Elliot," is expected to open in Newcastle, England, in November 2004