Billy Elliot: The Four Billy's: Which Billy did you see? Plus other Chicago events happening today.


A week ago Billy Elliot premiered in Chicago with the first of four Billy’s, 13-year-old Cesar Corrales who won the opening night nod over 14-year old Tommy Batchelor, who played Billy on Broadway.  The other two Billy’s are 12-year-old Giuseppe Bausilio from Bern, Switzerland where his parents operate two ballet schools and J.P. Viernes, age 13 from Half Moon Bay, CA.  All are amazing dancers.  Since the role is such an important one, I am wondering how big a difference it makes in the show depending on who plays the roll of Billy.  I would love to hear which Billy you saw, what you thought about him and the show in general and if anyone has seen the play more than once with different actors playing Billy. 

Learn some smart money solutions with Financial Journalist Terry Savage at a free lunchtime talk at the Harold Washington Library Center. Cindy Pritzker Auditorium,
400 S. State St. 312 747 4396.

KITTY KELLEY signs her  book, “Oprah: A Biography,” at State Street’s Border’s Books.  150 N. State Street, 12:30p.m. to 1:30p.m.

Chicago’s 2010 Improv Fest opens today with a new attitude.  This year’s Fest will put a brighter spotlight on local troupes but will still feature national and international performers.  Tonight’s kick off event takes place at the Annoyance Theater.  The main act features SNL vet and Chicago resident Tim Meadows paired with Second City’s Joe Canale and Brad Morris.  8p.m. 4830 N. Broadway.

An ATC Premiere.
 “Welcome to Arroyo’s” OPENS TONIGHT at the American Theater Company. This offering by Pulitzer-prizing winning playwright, Kristoffer Diaz is set in a small New York tavern.  The comedy follows the  two DJ narrators as they turn up the volume in an attempt to spin their family-run bar into the big-time. 1909 W. Byron, 773 409 4125. Through May 16.

Sola Restaurant, located nearby at the corner of Lincoln and Byron offers a Hawaiian inspired menu featuring locally raised ingredients. Take advantage of their 3-course prix-fixe menu offered every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening. 3836 N. Lincoln. 773 929 5171.

Brownstone Tavern and Grill offers a less expensive alternative.  Monday night specials include:  A $10 rib platter with purchase of a drink. and $10 Coors Light buckets.   Monday night is also trivia night with the fun and gams starting at 8p.m. 3937 N. Lincoln, 773 528 3700.

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  • I've seen three of the four Billys in Chicago and well as almost all the boys playing the role on Broadway and in London. Each is charming in his own way, and all are fantastic dancers. One boy may play Billy as lonely and sad, another plays him as a tough street kid, and still others play Billy as a basically happy child, despite his misfortunes. The show itself is one of the finest musicals to come along in the past 10 years.

  • That's amazing--so far I've only seen the Chicago show with J.P Viernes. I thought he did a good job and seemed to play him as a pretty happy well-adjusted boy considering the circumstances. I'm hoping to see all four in the role. Which one of the Chicago Billys did you not see?

  • I only attended the first week of previews, so I missed Giuseppe Bausilio, who started late. But I'm certain that he will be a brilliant Billy, like the others. I once asked Stephen Daldry how he discovered these gems. He just smiled.

  • I came all the way from Australia to see the Chicago production and like 'johnnyc' I attended the first week of previews, so I missed Giuseppe Bausilio but saw the other three Chicago Billy's. I have seen the show elsewhere, in my case Sydney. Melbourne, London and New York. It is a wonderful musical and one of the special features of this musical is just what you were hinting at, each Billy and Michael brings a different interpretation to the role and so changes the production sufficiently to have kept my interest in the show at a high level for a long time. I think I have seen 18 different boys perform the role of Billy!

  • In reply to BillyAddict:

    You sound like a Billy expert--do you have a favorite Billy or performance--or would you rather not say.

  • In reply to clk2000:

    Any of the Billy's are immensely talented and certainly I can't say after seeing 18 boys perform the role across the word that any one in particular is the greatest. Of course we have our favorites and I do know that the boy who moves my emotions the most during a total performance is one of the current Broadway Billy's, Michael Dameski who performed the role also in Sydney and Melbourne. But in individual scenes others create a special magic which is unique to them. Rhys Kosakowski did a beautiful and moving 'Dream Ballet' with his regular older Billy, Josh Horner, Dayton Tavares does a brutal and extremely Angry Angry Dance. They are all special and unique.

    I agree with others that Cesar Corrales in chicago has that special something like Michael Dameski.

  • In reply to clk2000:

    First, I don't think it should be viewed that Cesar Corrales won opening night over Tommy. I'm sure there was a scheduling reason involved.

    I will be seeing the show in Chicago in a few months and hope to see all four boys. I saw the show twice on Broadway last year. Trent Kowalik and David Alvarez were my Billys. David's Billy is very angry and angsty. Trent's is funny and plucky. Trent Kowalik is an incredible actor all around and has amazing comedic timing. He's also probably the best tap dancer to ever play Billy anywhere in the world.

    At both of my shows I had David Bologna, who received a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Michael. That kid is just so special. He sang "Expressing Yourself" unlike any other Michael I've ever heard. His dead-on delivery and fearlessness made him a joy to watch. He's back in Austin where I live and I hope to see him in some productions here.

  • In reply to BillyAddict:

    I attended the opening night for Billy Elliot in Chicago and was blown away by the performance of Billy played by, Cesar Corrales, can't imagine anyone doing it better but would love to hear what those of you who have seen the other Billys think about their performances-- 5 out of 5 stars.

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