‘Billy Elliot’ leaps onto ASU Gammage stage - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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‘Billy Elliot’ leaps onto ASU Gammage stage

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Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 11:45 am

Faith Prince has worked on Broadway in the musicals “The Little Mermaid,” “A Catered Affair” and “Guys and Dolls,” for which she won a Tony Award for Best Actress.

Prince, who had a recurring role on “Spin City,” spent plenty of time in New York in productions. But this time, she chose to hit the road with the national tour of “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” which stops April 26 at Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium.

“I’ve never toured before in my entire career, and it worked out perfect for me right now,” said Prince. “I knew I had to be a part of this tremendous show and incredible story.”

“Billy Elliot,” which is adapted from the 2000 film, follows a boy from a mining town, in the middle of a strike, as he trades in his boxing gloves for ballet shoes. This particular tale shows his struggles with acceptance from his family in the middle of a crisis.

In 2009, “Billy Elliot” won 10 Tony Awards but was nominated for 15 total. Elton John wrote the music for the stage adaptation.

When the musical first premiered on Broadway, Prince had been offered the role of Billy’s teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson. She turned down the part due to other commitments.

Later, the producers asked her to perform the role in the national tour, for which she was available.

Eventually, Prince found the opportunity to join the show, which she considers a challenge.

She has danced and performed choreography in a number of big musicals. But she still discovered different aspects of dance with “Billy Elliot.”

“You must have a sense of tap and ballet for this show,” said Prince, calling from a tour stop in Houston. “Everyone who joins the show must go through what they call a ‘Billy Elliot’ boot camp, that is grueling but worth it in the end.”

Touring with “Billy Elliot” has been fun for Prince, who enjoys spending time with the cast, especially the three young actors who portray Billy.

“I’ve tried to give positive reinforcements and share some of my wisdom,” said Prince. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for these kids.”

Prince said the success of “Billy Elliot” comes from great music and choreography, but most importantly a good theme.

“The lesson is that if you have this voice inside of you telling you to go for something, then do it and the universe will present what you need,” Prince said.

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