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Extensions: Billy, Cirque, Dancing & Horse

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Over 435,000 new tickets have been released for Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace, taking bookings up until 17 December 2011.

Set against the North-eastern mining strikes of the 1980s, the musical recounts the tale of a motherless boy whose father wants him to learn to box but who instead discovers a love for ballet that leads him from secret lessons to a place at the Royal Ballet School.

Among many awards, the show scooped Best Musical prizes in the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Whatsonstage.com Awards after it premiered in the UK in 2005. It has toured internationally and transferred to Broadway in November 2009, where it won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The stage production reunites the creative team behind the 2000 film: director Stephen Daldry, writer Lee Hall and choreographer Peter Darling. It features an original score by pop singer-songwriter Elton John, with lyrics by Lee Hall.

  • Cirque du Soleil has announced additional performances for its run of Totem at the Royal Albert Hall next month due to an “overwhelming demand for tickets”. The show, which is written and directed by Robert Lepage, will now play from 5 January to 17 February 2011. Totem, which made its world premiere in Montreal earlier this year, traces the “fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.” The characters “evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations”.
  • Screen-to-stage musical Dirty Dancing has extended its booking period at the Aldwych Theatre to 29 October 2011. Set at an upmarket American holiday camp called Kellerman’s in the 1960s, the 1987 film starred Jennifer Grey as the teenaged Baby Houseman who falls in love with the camp's working class dance instructor Johnny Castle, iconically played by Patrick Swayze. The current West End cast includes X Factor star Ray Quinn.
  • The National Theatre’s award-winning production of War Horse has extended its booking period at the New London Theatre to 18 February 2012. The show - which features puppets by Handspring puppet company - premiered in October 2007 at the National, returning for a second sell-out run in 2008. It has been running at the New London since April 2009 and will open at New York's Lincoln Center in March next year.
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