Seven years after Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) first arrived in Seoul and became the first ever non-English production of the musical, BETM returns to South Korea. It will be presented by Seensee Company at the D-Cube Arts Center in Seoul from November 28, 2017 to May 7, 2018.
The new Korean production has strong links to the West End production of BETM. Damian Jackson and Simon Pollard, who were respectively Resident Choreographer and Resident Director in London, were both involved in the casting process to find the Seoul Billys and Michaels. Simon Pollard also serves as Associate Director for the show.
The search to find the second generation of South Korean Billys began almost two years ago. The young boys who displayed the most potential at the initial auditions were invited to begin training in April 2016. After eight months of training, they were whittled down to just 16 candidates – seven potential Billys and nine potential Michaels.
Myung-sung Park, president of Seensee Company and producer of the Korean production of BETM, spoke of the progress that the kids had made throughout the training process, “At first, most of them were poor at ballet or tap dance, making me wonder whether they could play Billy. However, they are displaying talents now. We don’t cast star actors in the show, because Billy Elliot is a show bringing up the star of the future.”
Talking on the day of the final audition Simon Pollard said, “We have been performing across the world for 12 years and these 16 are not only the best performers in Korea, but also world class with the potential as brilliant as Billys in the show’s history. Today is a celebration of what these young men achieved in eight months.” He also commented that the Korean boys seemed too polite to be Billy, saying, “In terms of South Korean Billys and Michaels, they are committed, hard-working and polite. It is our job to make them less polite because Billy is not always so nice and kind in the show. So we give them permission to be rude in rehearsals.”
This short video gives an insight into the gruelling audition and rehearsal process that the Billys had to undergo:
Credit: Video by iseensee
In the end, four boys were chosen to play the role in Billy in Seoul and they were announced in May 2017. They are Woo-jin Chun, Hyun-jun Kim, Hyun-Seo Sim, Ji-hwan Sung. Two months later, in July, it was announced that they would be joined by a fifth Billy. He is Eric Taylor.
Here’s a video of the Billys performing Electricity at a press event:
Credit: Video by PlayDB
To see a complete listing of the rest of the Seoul cast, just click on the Cast Information button.