By Barry Reszel
When Asher Alcantara of Wilmette and Cade Pearlman of Highland Park as young Billy Elliot intone Elton John’s “Electricity” lyric:
“And suddenly I’m flying
Flying like a bird
Sparks inside of me
And I’m free, I’m free”
they won’t be the only ones to feel the electricity.
Highland Park Players production of the 10-time Tony winning musical (Oct. 21 to Nov. 6) is quite the coup for this established community theatre. The company was awarded the first non-Equity production rights to the show in Chicagoland.
Featuring a timeless score by John, sensational dance and a powerful story that has captivated audiences around the world, Billy Elliot is a funny, uplifting, spectacular theatrical experience. Those are no small shoes for a community production to fill. But HPP President and Billy Elliot Executive Producer Bradley Rose is undaunted.
“Highland Park Players has always taken pride in selecting shows that are harder than the typical non-equity show,” he said. “We thrive in the challenges these shows pose and have never backed away from them. In the last few years alone we have produced Avenue Q, Cats and 42nd Street to not only rave reviews but also to multiple awards.
“Billy Elliot continues to fortify our mission of providing area residents the opportunity to attend and participate in a superior theatre experience. Since our board is made up completely of volunteers we strive to take on productions that are not done time and time again. If we could be the theatre to always do the non-Equity premiere we would.”
Director Ken Preuss added, “What makes Billy Elliot so powerful is it’s a story about dreams being reached for at the same time as livelihoods are getting destroyed. This story is touching, beautiful, entertaining and powerful due to so many human elements intersecting with one another and we can’t wait to share it with the audience.”
In addition to the double-cast young Billys noted above, cast members include: Alexis Armstrong (Glencoe), Brian Herrle (Glenview), Michael Greenlief Jr. (Lombard), Ewan Parker-Eaton (Barrington), Jenny Rudnick (Vernon Hills), Gretchen Kimmeth (Chicago), Isabel Kaegi (Palatine) and Gerald Nevin (Glenview).
Ensemble members are Braden Cothers, Sean Blitzstein, Perry Georgopoulos, Mila Armstrong, Evelyn Halbach, Kaia Mavradas, Maya Neikrug, India Renteria, Liliana Renteria, Shayna Weinstein, Jay Daab, Laurie Gauger, Henry Gessner, Justine Klein, Dave Lemrise, Patrick Luce, Josh Ticho, Joe Vitaterna and Holly Weis.
HPP’s Billy Elliot production team includes: Bradley A. Rose-Executive Producer (Highland Park), Jacob Cohen-Producer (Chicago), Ken Preuss (Rolling Meadows), Jennifer Cupani- Choreographer (Buffalo Grove), Hannah Rose-Music Director (Highland Park), Adam Goldstein-Dialect Coach (Chicago) Chris Morgan-Northbrook (Stage Manager).
Performances are at the Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Avenue, Northbrook. October 21st through November 6th.on October 21, 22, 28, 29 and November 3, 4, 5 at 7:30 pm and October 23, 30 and November 6 at 2 pm. More information and tickets ($20 to $25) are available online here.