By Jeanné McCartin

“Billy Elliot” is a powerful production; every element, every performer deserved the packed-house and standing ovation given opening weekend.

It’s a compelling story packed with “moments;” beautiful, exciting, muscular, and deeply affecting ones, all realized in this wonderful production about a child’s coming of age, alongside a town and nation in turmoil.

The musical is based on the eponymous film and features music by Elton John that includes a broad variety of styles. The book and lyrics are by Lee Hall.

What’s to like? Passion and truth. “Billy Elliot” is raw, funny and warm. Its characters are authentic – singing in the middle of disaster or not. It takes you through a range of emotions and thoughts on a rough playing field, but leaves you well.

The story is set in 1984, Durham, England, a rugged coal mining community, during Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s era. The Coal Union is at odds with Thatcher’s conservative government policies, and nationally within itself. Durham’s miners choose to strike.

Money is tight, and nerves are stretched, and miners, scabs and police clash.

Billy’s world is in turmoil, inside and out. The 11-year-old, who recently lost his mom, lives with his, Dad, Jackie, and brother Tony, both miners, and a grandmother with dementia. The family is still dealing with the recent loss of Billy’s mom.

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