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Riding joins Billy Elliot

Published 28 November 2008

Two-times Laurence Olivier Award winner Joanna Riding joins the cast of Billy Elliot The Musical on 1 December, for a limited season, to play Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson.

Joining her are Joe Caffrey, who returns to the cast, and 12-year-old Brad Wilson, the latest young talent to play the title role.

Experienced musical theatre actress Riding – who remains in the cast until the end of December – won a Best Actress in a Musical Laurence Olivier Award in 1993 for her portrayal of Julie Jordan in Carousel at the National Theatre. She went on to collect her second award a decade later for My Fair Lady. Her other London stage credits include Me And My Girl, The Witches Of Eastwick, Lady Be Good and Blithe Spirit.

Caffrey has previously appeared in Billy Elliot The Musical playing Billy’s brother Tony, and now returns to the Victoria Palace to take on the role of his dad, Jackie Elliot. Caffrey’s stage credits include recent productions Love’s Labour’s Lost and We Are The People at Shakespeare’s Globe, Cooking With Elvis at the Whitehall theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) and numerous productions around the country.

Wilson, from Doncaster, started dancing when he was nine and has been training at the Billy Elliot Academy in Leeds for two years. In playing Billy Elliot, Wilson will alternate in the role with the three current Billys, Tom Holland, Tanner Pfueger and Fox Jackson-Keen.

Lee Hall’s multi-award-winning musical, based on the hit film of the same name, is set in the North East of England during the miners’ strikes of the 1980s. Billy’s miner dad wants his son to box, but Billy displays more of a talent for ballet. While his brother and dad stand on the picket line, Billy is encouraged by dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson to follow his dreams.

The musical, which is directed by Stephen Daldry, with a score by Elton John, won the 2006 Best New Musical Laurence Olivier Award when it premiered in London. Since then, productions have opened around the world, most recently on Broadway.

CB

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