The intimate, 1000 seat Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen, Denmark, played host to a professional production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM), from January 22 to May 3, 2015.
In 2013, Niels-Bo Valbro, Manager at the Det Ny Teater, took in a show at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London of the original production of BETM. He knew then that A) he would very much like to present the show in his own theater and B) it would be very difficult to do so because BETM requires a large contingent of children who can dance and sing and act. In such a small country as Denmark, finding enough children with the potential to fill all the roles could be a major obstacle to overcome.
Auditions for the roles of Billy and Michael were held in November of 2013. Over 500 boys submitted applications to try out for the roles. After the auditions, which included several rounds of call backs, seven boys were selected to fill the two roles — three Billys and four Michaels.
But even though these boys had been identified as being the most talented of the 500 who auditioned, none of them had the level of skill in all of the disciplines the roles would require. The next order of business was to get them up to those necessary skill levels. But how would the production’s creative team do that?
In the end, the answer was that the Danish production, like a version of the show being mounted at the same time in The Netherlands, would establish a Billy sCOOL to identify and train the large child cast of the show, especially the Billys and Michaels — the roles requiring the most skills. The sCOOL would take place for over a year before the production would begin and it would provide the children with individualized instruction in the skills each would need for their roles.
For the Billys and Michaels, the sCOOL consisted of ballet, jazz, street dance, step, acrobatics, acting and singing. The seven boys met three times a week after school in rehearsal spaces at the Det Ny Teater. The process was long, but the creative team’s confidence in the boys was realized when they thrilled audiences in Copenhagen with the first class show that was presented by these talented children beginning with the first show on January 22nd.
A whole series of pictures from the sCOOL can be seen here.
To see a complete listing of the rest of the Denmark cast, just click on the Cast Information button.