ShenanArts will mount a production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM) from March 9-18, 2018, presenting six performances at its nTelos Theater. The main theatre seats 341 people with a traditional proscenium stage that has custom-built extensions for various configurations.
ShenanArts is a non-profit community theatre, founded in 1981 in Staunton, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It annually produces an ambitious schedule of plays and musicals by and for participants of all ages. At its core, ShenanArts is about theatre education for young people. Its premier program in this regard is the Presbury Theatrical Training Program (PTTP) which provides quality training that ignites excitement for the performing arts in aspiring young actors K-12. Each year, the program runs in two 16-week semesters: spring and fall.
For most of the first three decades of its existence, ShenanArts performed its shows in rather bare-boned facilities, beginning life in a barn on a farm and, most recent to moving into its current theatre space in Staunton, at a renovated supermarket in Verona, VA.
In the fall of 2009, the ShenanArts Board of Directors sought a new location that would provide the desired space for its growing theatre. That dream was realized when the auditorium at Gypsy Hill Place (formerly the old Robert E. Lee High School) became available for lease. Gypsy Hill Place is a registered National Landmark that was built in 1928 and renovated in 1953.
In May of 2010, many dedicated volunteers helped move from the location in Verona, VA and to restore the current theatre space at Gypsy Hill Place in Staunton, VA. The theatre’s new home allows for on-site rehearsal space, large set and costume shops, spacious dressing rooms, upgraded technical abilities, and increased audience capacity, providing the needed space for the growth of the theatre.
Besides BETM, other ShenanArts shows this season include The Rocky Horror Show, The Game’s Afoot and We Will Rock You. To see a list of past shows presented over the years at ShenanArts, click here.
Auditions for the ShenanArts production of Billy Elliot The Musical began in November, 2017 and rehearsals for Billy and Michael soon followed. The show’s co-producer (who is also a member of the Ensemble), John Craft, describes the tryout for Billy and Michael: “It involved singing, acting, and dance auditions which were intensive, and lasted about four hours.”
The full cast began their rehearsals shortly after the first of the year, led by Director Greg Beam and choreographer Julia Vessey.
A newcomer to the role of Billy will lead the 38 member BETM cast. His name is Grayson Reed.
In this video, Grayson talks about what it takes to prepare for the enormous role of Billy Elliot:
Credit: Dancing Pony Pictures
To see a complete listing of the rest of the ShenanArts cast, just click on the Cast Information button.