Note: George’s Final Performance as Billy in London was December 17, 2005
Debut: April 1, 2005 (London)
George Maguire was one of the three originating Billys in the London production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM). Born on 11-Dec-1990, he was 14-years-old when the show began performances. He’s from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, UK and attended Gable Hall School there before his Billy days began. Unlike most of the boys who have played Billy, George had almost no dance experience when he was selected for the role. But he had rhymn, a drummer like his dad. And, according to director Stephen Daldry, he had a certain charisma about him. He began taking singing lessons at age 11.
A funny story came out of his audition experience: He thought he’d been rejected at his audition. When his name was called, he assumed it meant rejection and walked out: “In the car on the way home, I was in such a tizzy, I was crying.” Next morning, the phone rang:”Where did George go?”
From over 3900 boys who auditioned for the three original alternating lead slots in the show, nine got through the auditions and attended a program of after-school classes in tap, ballet, street dance and acrobatics. ‘We was training every single day,’ says George. ‘We was absolutely knackered. I’d be there for four o’ clock and go on until 9pm. It was well good.” After that, he spent 14 weekends attending the Billy Elliot school in Leeds, set up exclusively to train prospective Billys and other child cast for the musical.
His dance style is a mixture of street and ballet. When choreographer Peter Darling told George he had to do ballet, he felt iffy: “I’m a normal Essex boy. And, for the first few weeks, I absolutely hated it.” But once into it, he found himself liking it. Darling told him at the time that he had the talent to become a professional, but George said: “I respect all the ballet dancers out there but I’m not sure if I’ll go in that direction.”
In the days leading up to the opening of the show in previews, everyone in the cast was doing various media events to promote the show. One of the highlights of that period was an appearance by Elton John and the three Billys in December, 2004 at the Royal Variety Show.
Here’s a clip of that appearance in which they perform the show’s signature song/dance number Electricity:
Credit: Video by Inspired by Billy Elliot
After a month of previews beginning at the end of March, 2005, George was chosen to “Be Billy” for the production’s official Opening Night, May 12, 2005. At the left is a photo of George and his two fellow Billys (James Lomas and Liam Mower) with Elton John after that night’s performance.
That Opening Night show would mark the beginning of a routine that saw George do 2-3 shows per week and be at the theatre another two or three times a week as the “standby” Billy for the next eight months. That’s in addition to all the rehearsals and dance, stamina and acting training that would go on daily in between performances. George would do his final “official” show as Billy on December 17, 2005.
He would appear with his fellow originating Billys a couple more times subsequent to that night. The first occasion was on February 26, 2006. On that night George, James and Liam made Olivier Awards history by becoming the first to jointly receive the award for Best Actor in a a Musical. They were also the youngest actors ever to receive an Olivier award up to that time.
The second occasion was on May 12, 2006 — the first anniversary of the opening of the show at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London. On that night, all three of the originating Billys took turns acting, singing and dancing in the various scenes and dance numbers of the show.
Post Billy Activities
Here are some of the highlights of “life after Billy” for George:
- Appeared on the British TV Show Steady Ready Cook.
- Served as a moderator for several Mardi Gras dance shows of British Dance Schools – “The Stars in the Round” in the Royal Albert Hall, “The Stars in your Eyes” in the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London.
- Appeared in the ITV zombie movie Renaissance as Tim.
For more information about George, visit: