The 620-seat Spotlight Theatre in Moline, IL hosted a regional production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM), from October 18-27, 2019.
The Spotlight Theatre and Event Center is a relatively new venue (opening in 2018) in an old Scottish Rite Cathedral, completed in 1930. It was the former home to the Masonic Temple Scottish Rite.
The theater features a large stage, one of the finest organs in the area and a balcony area lined with stained-glass windows. It is leased to Brent and Sara Tubbs who run it as a professional theater while also hosting weddings. The building also has a 350-seat reception hall adjacent to a 2,000-square-foot kitchen that the Tubbs’ utilize to host wedding receptions.
Since Spotlight Theatre opened in May 2018, major productions have included The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Big: The Musical and Matilda The Musical. The 2019 season, the theatre’s first full season of musicals, concludes with BETM in October and then Miracle on 34th Street in December.
For this first season, when the Artistic Director and Producing Director, Brent and Sara Tubbs, were putting together their season of shows, they chose shows that reflected a sense of following your dreams and growing up. The husband and wife team harbors a strong passion for instilling the arts in children, so a lot of their shows this year revolve around children. Choosing such shows as Big: The Musical, Matilda, and Billy Elliot: The Musical followed the theme of being yourself.
And the theatre will not sit back on its haunches for the 2020 season either, with that season already having been announced. It will include:
The Tubbs’ realized that BETM was no slouch of a show to produce. Says Producing Director Brent Tubbs, “As a new theatre in our community, we wanted to select shows that would not be typically done in our area. We are a rural area with a lot of industrial trade families and we thought this message would really hit home with a lot of the families”.
He continued, “The message of Billy Elliot is one that we feel deserves to be heard, and we had a young man who we knew would be able to pull off the role of “Billy” very well. Brennan (Hampton) is a young man we have worked with in the past and we knew he was in ballet classes at the time of play selection. We checked with him first to see if he would be interested in the role because, obviously, you can’t do “Billy Elliot” without a good Billy Elliot. Once Brennan was on board we knew we’d be able to do it.”
Brent related how things are going in rehearsals: “This is such a dance heavy show, but everyone is doing such an amazing job. The blocking portion of the show went fairly easy, it’s really all the dancing that has been the toughest part to put together.”
To learn more about Brennan Brave Hampton, click on the Billy Profiles button (below) to be taken to his detailed profile.
To see a complete listing of the rest of the Spotlight Theatre cast, just click on the Cast Information button.
Note: Production Photos in this article are by Sara Tubbs