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Billy-Elliot-PosterThe North American Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) was dubbed US National Tour 2 and kicked off at the Durham (NC) Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on October 30, 2010. The tour featured stops of a few days to 4 weeks (most stops were one week) in various cities around the United States and Canada. Originally planned to last for a minimum of three years, the tour played 64 cities in the United States and Canada and, after a five week layoff, finished up with a visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil from August 2-18, 2013 where it played its final performances (see a link to the full tour itinerary at the end of this article).

A hiatus for the original tour took place from August 22 to Oct. 31, 2011 during which some changes to the script and set were made and several cast changes took place.  The production then re-opened as North American Tour 2.5 on November 1, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  All told, The Tour performed the show 886 times, with the revised 2.5 version representing 577 of those performances.

As in all productions of this popular musical, a large part of the success of this version of the show was dependent upon the boys in the title role.  Their talent dominated the show, as they were on stage for all but a couple of scenes for the show’s two hour and 50 minute duration.

There were 13 boys who played the title role in the tour production of BETM.  Ten of them finished their Billy careers with the Tour production of the show. Three went on to other productions of the show after their stints with the Tour.  

Giuseppe Bausilio Thumb2Giuseppe Bausilio was one of the tour’s originating Billys, having previously been one of the originating Billys for the Chicago production of the show. After his time with the Tour, he became one of the few actors who played Billy in three different productions of the show, finishing up his BETM career on Broadway. 

Mitchell Tobin Thumb2Another of the Tour Billys, Mitchell Tobin, was asked to play the role in London after the Tour closed in Sao Paulo, making his debut there on 9-Dec-2013.  Mitchell then went on to portray Billy in three US regional productions of the musical before hanging up Billy ballet shoes for good.  He performed the role 174.75 (some partial shows included) times all told.

Noah-Parets Thumb4And the third Tour Billy who headlined another production of the show after the Tour is Noah Parets, who starred as Billy in one of the first regional productions of the show — at Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. 

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Tour Milestones

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Here’s one of the first publicity pictures of the five boys who would kick off the North American Tour (2.0)  in Durham, NC on October 30, 2010.

(l-r on bench: Daniel Russell, Giuseppe Bausilio, Kylend Hetherington and Michael Dameski. Lying in front of bench: Lex Ishimoto)
(l-r on bench: Daniel Russell, Giuseppe Bausilio, Kylend Hetherington and Michael Dameski. Lying in front of bench: Lex Ishimoto)

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It’s November 3, 2010 and, after four nights of previews, it’s Opening Night of the Tour followed by an after party for the cast/crew.  Here, Director Stephen Daldry joins the five original tour Billys for a picture:

l-r Kylend Hetherington, Giuseppe Bausilio, Michael Dameski, Stephen Daldry, Lex Ishimoto and Daniel Russell
l-r Kylend Hetherington, Giuseppe Bausilio, Michael Dameski, Stephen Daldry, Lex Ishimoto and Daniel Russell

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In Houston, on March 12, 2011,  former president George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush viewed the show and visited with the cast backstage afterward.

Credit: Photo by Billy Elliot Broadway and National Tour Facebook Group
Credit: Photo by Billy Elliot Broadway and National Tour Facebook Group

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The Tour Visits San Francisco – June 27 to August 21, 2011

During the week before the Tour opened for what would be the longest stay of any stop on the itinerary (8 weeks) in San Francisco, the then five Billys spent the week promoting the show.

(l-r Daniel Russell, JP Viernes, Kylend Hetherington, Lex Ishimoto and Ethan Fuller)
Credit:  Two Photos Above by SHN: Broadway in San Francisco
Credit: Two Photos Above by SHN: Broadway in San Francisco

Credit:  Two Photos Above by SHN: Broadway in San Francisco

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Here the Billys show off their singing voices with their excellent rendition of the National Anthem at a San Francisco Giants game on the Friday night before the show opened in SF:

Credit: Video by pikapikax

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In July of 2012, Tour Billys  (Noah Parets and Ben Cook), ably assisted by Cameron Clifford and five of the Ballet Girls, sing the National Anthem at a Milwaukee Brewers/St. Louis Cardinals game at Miller Park Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Credit: Photo by the Marcus Performing Arts Center
Credit: Photo by the Marcus Performing Arts Center

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Sao Paulo, Brazil – August 2-18, 2013

After almost three years, and after completing the North American segment of the Tour, the cast/crew traveled to Brazil for a three week engagement that closed the Tour.  Here’s the venue:

Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo Brazil
Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo Brazil

A final picture of the Tour cast and crew, taken on the set in Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo. Final-Cast-Crew-of-BETMUS

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Editor’s Note:  Here is an excellent documentary about the creation of this tour.  It was produced by TV Channel 11, the ABC outlet in Durham, NC (where the tour kicked off in October of 2010).  The video is in three parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Credit: Videos by Billyfan2849

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To learn more about the tour Billys, click on the Billy Profiles button (below) to be taken to their detailed profiles. billy profiles

To see a complete listing of the Tour cast, just click on the Cast Information button.

cast info

 

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