Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre leaps into 2024 with Billy Elliot: The Musical, February 7-March 24, 2024

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Billy Elliot: The Musical 

Inspired new production of the coming-of-age tale 

directed by Trent Stork

February 7-March 24, 2024

Paramount Theatre’s Billy Elliot: The Musical features “triple-threat” actors/singers/dancers Neo Del Corral (left) and Sam Duncan alternating performances in the role of Billy. Photo credit: Amy Nelson

 Neo Del Corral (left) and Sam Duncan. All Advance Production Photos by Amy Nelson

Combating prejudice with dance

Do what you love no matter what other people think. That’s the message that leaps from the stage in Billy Elliot: The Musical, originally nominated for 15 Tony Awards and a winner of ten, including Best Musical. 

I'll be out for opening night, February 16th, so check back soon for my full review. I'll always hold a soft spot for Billy Elliott, since it was the first Broadway touring production I ever reviewed reviewed for ChiILMama.com, back in 2010. My family was invited behind the scenes, to meet the four boys playing Billy on the national tour, and I got to bring my children to their first Broadway musical, at the ripe old ages of 7 and 9. I've been reviewing theatre ever since and couldn't love it more. 

      My daughter Sage, Daniel, my son Dugan, and Billy Elliot--AKA:  J.P.Viernes

Speaking of coming of age stories... Fourteen years later, these littles are now 20-22 year olds and my son has a theatre degree from Northwestern University! You never know how early exposure to theatre arts will grow. And in that wonderful 6 degrees of separation, we're still friends with Daniel's mom, Amy Bizzarri, who is now the author of many fabulous travel books and writes for Choose Chicago. 

In more 6 degrees of separation news, we're also friends with this photographer, Amy Boyle. Her younger 2 sons were in Lane Tech's theatre production of Chicago with my son, Dugan, in 2019, and her oldest son shot photos at Northwestern with him. In 2020, Amy featured me in her series the 52 Phenomenal Women Project, a social platform and community celebrating everyday women. Through portraiture and the subject’s own words, she’s shown what makes them phenomenal right now. Now all 3 of her sons are talented photographers, and her oldest, Colin's work can be seen weekly at Block Club Chicago. 

Who knows what the future holds for these young Paramount Billy Elliot actors and this photographer, Amy Nelson... You could be seeing the future famous! We've covered Broadway's touring Billy Elliot in 2010 and Drury Lane's Billy Elliot in 2015. We can't wait to see what 2024 and Paramount Theatre's Billy Elliot brings.

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre's 
Billy Elliot: The Musical 

Meet Billy Elliot, an 11-year-old English boy who stumbles upon a ballet class during his weekly boxing lesson. His surprise love for dance must be hidden at all costs, especially from his coal miner father. With help from his sharp-tongued teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy gets the chance to attend a prestigious ballet school and must decide what is most important: doing what he loves or doing what other people want. 

Paramount Theatre rings in 2024 with an inspired new production of this popular coming-of-age tale, set to the music of Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, directed by Trent Stork. Performances are February 7-March 24, 2024. 

Trent Stork

Director Trent Stork, Paramount’s Artistic Producer and Casting Director, won their first Jeff Award, Director-Musical-Large, in 2022 for Paramount’s Kinky Boots. Stork also helmed Paramount’s current holiday season blockbuster, the Chicago Regional Premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, along with last season’s School of Rock, and Into the Woods with co-director Jim Corti. 

Stork has assembled another stellar design and production team, on point to create a dazzling night of theater: Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, choreographer; Kory Danielson, music director, conductor and music supervisor; Michelle Lilly, scenic designer; Izumi Inaba, costume designer and wig, hair and makeup designer; Greg Hofmann, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Mike Tutaj, projection designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; John A. Tovar, fight director; Max Fabian, intimacy director; Devon Hayakawa, dramaturg; Amanda Raquel Martinez, associate director; Alex Mitchell, associate choreographer; Cameron Tragesser, associate music director and associate conductor; Jinni Pike, stage manager; Maegan Burnell and Lanita VanderSchaaf, assistant stage managers; and Bailey O’Neil and Madeline Scott, young performer supervisors.

Billy Elliot: The Musical, based on the 2000 film, features music by Elton John. Book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who also wrote the film's screenplay, inspired in part by A. J. Cronin's 1935 novel about a miners' strike in North East England, “The Stars Look Down.” The musical premiered at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London's West End in 2005 and was nominated for nine Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four, including Best New Musical. The production ran through April 2016. Its success led to productions in Australia, Broadway, and numerous other countries. In New York, it won ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards, including, in each case, Best Musical. It was originally directed by Stephen Daldry. Orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

Times, dates and ticket information

Previews start Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 7 p.m. Opening Night is Friday, February 16 at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 24: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Run time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes with intermission.

Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit paramountaurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until show time on show days. For group discounts, contact Melissa Striedl, melissas@paramountarts.com or (630) 723-2461. 

Pay What You Can Performances

Paramount will offer two Pay What You Can performances of Billy Elliot: Thursday, February 8 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 10 at 3 p.m. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount box office in-person to request tickets. Limit four per person. Subject to availability. See paramountaurora.com/pay-what-you-can for details. 

Access Services

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

Paramount will offer open captioning on Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m., and American Sign Language interpretation on Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or boxoffice@paramountarts.com in advance.


Billy Elliot: The Musical is sponsored by Clear Perspective Advisors. Paramount Theatre Broadway Season sponsors are the Dunham Foundation, the City of Aurora, BMO, ComEd and the Illinois Arts Council. 

Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. Single tickets are $28-$79. For tickets and information, visit paramountaurora.com or call (630) 896-6666. For the latest updates, follow @paramountaurora on Facebook and Instagram, and Paramount Theatre on LinkedIn. 

Neo Del Corral (left) and Sam Duncan. All Advance Production Photos by Amy Nelson

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Behind the scenes of Paramount’s Billy Elliot: The Musical 

Performing the title role requires a “triple-threat” young performer who can act, sing and is a highly-trained ballet dancer. Paramount has found their Billy, two of them in fact, Neo Del Corral and Sam Duncan, who will alternate in the role. 

Paramount's Billy Elliot: The Musical will feature “triple-threat” actors/singers/dancers Neo Del Corral (left) and Sam Duncan alternating in the role of Billy.

Del Corral, a veteran dancer at Miami City Ballet, has played Billy in productions in Florida and California. Duncan, from Connecticut, making his Billy debut, has many credits including John in Fun Home, the young prince in Public Theatre’s Richard III, plus TV appearances on Saturday Night Live and What We Do in the Shadows.

Principal cast members include (top, from left) Michelle Aravena (Mrs. Wilkinson), Ron E. Rains (Dad), (bottom) Barbara Robertson (Grandma) and Spencer Milford (Tony).

Youth performers are Gabriel Lafazan (Michael), Omi Lichtenstein and Elin Joy Seiler (rotating as Debbie), Charlie Long and Archer Geye (rotating as Tall Boy/Posh Boy), Levi Merlo and Eli Vander Griend (rotating as Small Boy), Ava Barabasz and Nina Poulimas (rotating as Angela Robson), Maya Keane and Meena Sood (rotating as Julie Hope), Avelyn Choi and Asha Dale Hopman (rotating as Keeley Gibson), Jojo Nabwangu and Willa Zatzenbloom (rotating as Margaret Gormley), Annabel Finch and Katie Romanski (rotating as Sharon Percy), Alexandria Rose Bell and Kavia Suri Kakodkar (rotating as Susan Parks), and Jordyn Helvie and Piper Sobel (rotating as Tracey Atkinson).

The ensemble (at press time) features Brian Bandura, Lydia Burke, Joe Foust, Neil Friedman, Nathan Gallop, Jared David Michael Grant, Dakota Hughes, Brian Hupp, Conor Jordan, Christopher Kelley, Chris Khoshaba, Kevin Kuska, Michael Earvin Martin, Matt Miles, Liz Pazik, Concetta Russo, Jennie Sophia and Matthew Weidenbener. 

Neo Del Corral as Billy Elliot


Paramount Theatre’s Billy Elliot: The Musical features Michelle Aravena (left) as Mrs. Wilkinson and Neo Del Corral as Billy. Note: Neo alternates performances as Billy with Sam Duncan.


Neo Del Corral as Billy Elliot


Michelle Aravena (left) plays Mrs. Wilkinson and Sam Duncan is Billy Elliot

Sam Duncan plays Billy in Paramount Theatre’s Billy Elliot: The Musical. Sam shares the role with Neo Del Corral.

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