Billy Elliot Receives a Standing Ovation in Cincinnati on Opening Night

The award-winning, Broadway musical Billy Elliot opened on Tuesday, January 17 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati.

This inspiring production tells the story of an 11-year-old boy, “Billy Elliot” who lives in a small, Northern England mining town with his father and siblings. The scenes unfold around Billy’s dream of dancing as he, his family and community are disrupted by a year-long mineworkers strike. On opening night, Kylend Hetherington held the lead role of Billy.

While Billy’s father wants him to pursue boxing, his own ambition materializes as he develops a passion for ballet. Throughout the course of his journey, Billy takes nightly, private lessons with a local dance instructor, Mrs. Wilkinson (played by Leah Hocking), who encourages him to audition for the Royal Ballet. Although Billy is a gifted dancer, he faces several challenges before he finally makes it to the audition that gets him into the prestigious school.

Theatergoer’s should be prepared to experience laughter and tears, before Billy declares his ultimate triumph of perfecting ballet. During Act II (six months later), everyone rallies around Billy, offering support and encouragement.

Standout numbers throughout the show include “Solidarity,” “Dear Billy (Mum’s Letter), “Electricity” and “Once We Were Kings.”

Although there are several young, child actors and actresses in the musical, parents should be cautioned that this production may be best suited for the “tween” and up audience, due to language.

Ultimately, this heartwarming story demonstrates how a person can excel in spite of adversity. The show’s final numbers earned a standing ovation from the audience, who nearly packed the venue.

The show will be in town through January 29. Tickets prices start at $27.50. For more information, visit

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