The Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts will present six performances of a production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM) at their 516 seat theater in Owosso, Michigan, from February 24 to March 5, 2023.
The Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts has a rich history that carries on the legacy of Joseph Lebowsky who opened The Capitol Theater in Owosso in 1926 as a “boon to the neighborhood.” From these beginnings to the eventual founding of a regular theatre group in the 1950s, over 350 shows have been performed through the stages of the theater’s history.
A devastating fire in 2007 caused the theater to close for seven years. After an extensive $4M renovation, it reopened in 2014 and today produces 4 musicals and 2 plays each season, and also hosts a variety of other performing artists to expand the cultural offerings to the local community and beyond.
Some recent shows at the Center have included Matilda the Musical and The Sound of Music.
Billy Elliot The Musical
Auditions for the BETM production were held in December of 2022, just before Christmas, and rehearsals with the entire cast for the production began just after the first of the new year. This photo, featuring some of the young cast of the musical, was posted by the theatre just after the first rehearsal:
The Artistic Director at the Lebowsky Center, Garrett Bradley, was asked in a recent interview how the theatre went about deciding to select Billy Elliot The Musical to be produced in their 2022-23 season.
Bradley, who will be directing his 40th production for the Lebowsky Center, said the story of “Billy Elliot” explores themes of class, gender and the importance of family and community as it tells Billy’s story. He went on to say:
“We love providing opportunities for young performers to be in our musicals, and we knew this show called for a number of young dancers. However the key to being able to do this show is having a young man who has the capability to play the role, and we knew that we had that in Isaac [Feldpausch], who excels in all forms of dance, especially in ballet.”
Besides being the Artistic Director at the Lebowsky Center, Garrett has dance credentials himself and is a co-founder (along with his sister Erica Bradley and with Taylor Engel) of Impact Dance Collective, where Isaac Feldpausch studies dance. Erica is also the resident choreographer at the Lebowsky Center. Add to that the fact that Isaac has done several shows over the past few years at the Lebowsky Center and it was clear that Garrett and Erica knew a lot about Isaac’s talent and why they wanted him for the title role in this production.
Garrett went on to say about selecting Issac to play Billy, “We contacted his family in advance of auditions to be sure they would be on board with his doing the role; that’s something we never normally do, but without a qualified dancer to play Billy, we couldn’t have done the show. Fortunately, Isaac and his parents were excited for him to showcase his talent in this challenging role.”
As the weeks of rehearsals went on, Mike Windnagle, who is a middle school teacher at the Corunna Middle School and who plays the role of Billy’s father, Jackie, in the show, was asked what it was like playing Billy’s dad. His answer: “There are several things I like most about playing Billy Elliot’s father, but chief among them is working with the extremely talented and genuine Isaac Feldspausch. He is beyond talented and what a humble kid. So many things come easily to him, it’s a wonder I can help him at all. We have been working on his accent, but other than a few words here and there, Isaac is a natural.”
To learn more about Isaac Feldpausch, click on the Billy Profiles button, below, to be taken to his detailed bio.
Isaac will lead a 35 member cast, the names and roles can be seen by clicking on the Cast Information button, below.
Note: The staff of betm.theskykid.com wishes to thank Julie Wenzlick of the Marketing Committee at the Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts, for providing us with much of the information found in the articles on our site about the BETM production at their facility.
Production Photos in this article courtesy of the Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts
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