EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 29, 2012

Being 'Billy Elliot'

10 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical stars Massachusetts boy in leading role

Who didn’t fall in love with Jamie Bell as the rough-and-tumble motherless boy turned graceful ballet star in the 2000 film, “Billy Elliot”?

Now, we have a chance to fall in love all over again, this time with the Boston-born 13-year-old Noah Parets, who shares the role on stage with three other boys in the Broadway in Boston production.

The 2009 Best Musical Tony Award winner opened at the historic Opera House on Wednesday and runs through Aug. 19.

This performance is very close to home for the young lead, who lives in Sharon and landed the role against stiff competition.

“I went to an open audition in New York City last September,” said Parets in a telephone interview, his mom sitting by his side.

“Then I don’t remember when they called, but I didn’t go to the actual call-back until January and that was like a weekend experience,” he continues. “In February, the casting director called and told me I got the part. It was amazing. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to start.”

Mom, Robyn, and Dad, Mark, were really excited, he adds. And proud, too, one might surmise.

The stage product that opened on Broadway in 2008 is based on the 2000 British film featuring music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry. On Broadway, “Billy Elliot the Musical” has earned critical acclaim, including a total of 10 Tony Awards.

Set in northern England during the 1984-85 miner’s strike, the story revolves around 11-year-old Billy, an enthusiastic dancer who hides his aspirations — and talents — from his widowed father, Jackie (at the Opera House Rich Hebert, who also has Massachusetts roots), and older brother, both down-and-out coal miners.

Despite family conflict and his father’s disapproval, Billy wins the heart of dance teacher teacher Sandra Wilkinson, who helps develop his innate skills. Later, he wins the support of his father, and ultimately a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School and a celebrity career.

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