June 30, 2011



J.P. Viernes (Billy Elliott) is Remarkable

Billy Elliott the musical brings to the stage a captivating story that is a non-stop thrill ride. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.  And that’s a good thing. Although there is humor (sometimes wicked), the show is also deeply moving.

The classic performers delight in the magic of each scene. You got it…this is a spellbinder of a show that will keep you thinking about it, for many, many years. I found myself enraptured.

The action starts out in a small England mining town. The only industry in the town is the “Goal Mines.” They hate it – but they have to work. They are not singing “That Old Black Magic” – but they could be thinking “I’ve got you under my Nails” – (Coal). Hey, but “What a difference a Day Makes” when Billy Elliot goes from Boxing lessons to Ballet shoes. His Dad thinks he might turn into a “Poof” – and firmly disapproves of dancing on toes. Billy literally might be singing in his head “Fly me to the Moon”. And, he actually fly’s way above the stage, in a miraculous, sumptuous dance (with a male partner).

The musical score by Elton John brings in memories of “Les Miz” and “A Chorus Line” (Police line up— like they are at an audition.) But it’s the “Les Miz” type music that stirs up deep emotions.

A fun time between Billy and a friend is when Billy discovers that his little Buddy is a cross-dresser. Billy asks: “Are you a poof?”

Some of the powerful musical pieces that I really enjoyed are: “The Stars Look Down” is an amazing opening. I also found “He Could Be a Star” – could and will touch your heart. “The Letter” as Billy reads, and his dead mother sings it – breaks the heart that you just touched. “Electricity”, is well – ELECTRIC.

J.P. Viernes is a local young man (Half Moon Bay). In one scene he does daredevil hi wire dancing in the air. If that doesn’t take your breath away, then nothing will. This musical is certainly a compelling and riveting show that has an authentic atmosphere with fascinating characters.

This true Gem is bound to sell out. Not only is the cast compelling and extraordinary – the show is technically impressive.


(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and Produced and Hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

Review Courtesy of www.beyondchron.org.

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