When Billy Elliot the Musical opened in Chicago in previews on March 18, 2010, it was originally intended to be the first stop of what was called the 1st National Tour. The tour, which was designed for extended stays in some of the largest cities in North America, continued in Chicago until November 28, 2010, closing after 287 performances over almost nine months.
Before it closed in Chicago, the decision had already been made that the production would no longer be considered a tour. The second planned stop commitment of the 1st Tour — Toronto — would be honored, but the production there would be considered “stand alone” and would have a definite Canadian flavor. Some of the other original 1st Tour’s stops were incorporated into the 2nd Tour itinerary (a tour originally conceived to be for short-term visits to smaller cities in the US and Canada).
The Toronto production of the show featured the Chicago production’s set and many of its cast and crew, along with some new Canadian cast members. It opened in previews for an open-ended run at the then Canon Theatre (now renamed the Ed Mirvish Theatre), on February 1, 2011. After a month of previews, the official Opening Night of the show was March 1, 2011 attended by Sir Elton John, who wrote the music for the show, and by Executive Producer David Furnish. The show closed in Toronto on September 3, 2011 following 248 performances.
All together the Chicago/Toronto productions performed for audiences in those cities 533 times.
To publicize the Chicago production, the Billys made the rounds of the various Chicago media outlets and many publicity photos were taken. Here’s an example:
Credit: Photo by William DeShazer
The official Opening Night, April 11, 2010 was as glamorous as any Broadway opening, with many dignitaries present as can be seen in this video clip:
Credit: Video by MajesticEmpireSA
In the days before the show opened in Toronto, the Billys again promoted the show at the various media outlets in the city. Here’s a picture of the famous “Billy Jump” taken in Dundas Square:
Credit: Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
On Opening Night, March 1, 2011, the Toronto Billys pose for this shot with Executive Producer David Furnish and Elton John who wrote the score of the show.
To see a complete listing of the rest of the Chicago/Toronto casts, just click on the Cast Info button.