Merrimack woman starring in ‘Billy Elliot The Musical’

Joey Gold, of Merrimack, will be performing the role of Tracey Atkinson in "Billy Elliot The Musical" Jan. 27-Feb. 26 at the Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. This will be her third time playing this role professionally. She also played the role at the Ogunquit (Maine) Playhouse and the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

In its 36th year of offering youth theatre education programs and accessible, professional productions for all generations, Wheelock Family Theatre proudly presents "Billy Elliot the Musical." Based on the 2000 film "Billy Elliot," the music is by Elton John, and book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. The plot revolves around young Billy, whose preference for ballet shoes over boxing gloves challenges his father’s and brother’s conventional ideas of boyhood. Billy’s personal struggle for fulfillment is counter-balanced with a family, broken-hearted from his mum’s passing, and a community suffering from the UK miners’ strike in 1984-5.

The musical premiered in London’s West End in 2005 and moved to Broadway in 2008, where it won 10 Drama Desk Awards and 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

WFT conducted an extensive search last spring for Billy Elliot and is pleased to announce that Seth Judice, 13, of Houston, Texas, will play the leading role. Seth has previously played Billy at the Phoenix Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., and Beck Center for the Arts in Cleveland, Ohio. Previous credits include Billy’s best friend, Michael, at Playhouse in the Square Memphis, Tenn., "A Christmas Story" (national tour), and "Scrooge" (Theater Under the Stars). Seth is an accomplished dancer who holds many regional and national dance titles.

Shane Boucher, of New London, will play Billy’s best friend, Michael, reprising this role from the Palace Theatre’s production. Boucher is also the understudy for the role of Billy and will be making his debut in scheduled performances this February.

WFT operates under contract with Actors Equity Association and young thespians have the opportunity to perform onstage with professional actors. AEA members in the cast include Neil Gustafson (Dad), Aimee Doherty (Mrs. Wilkinson), Jared Troilo (Tony), Cheryl Singleton (Grandma), Gary Ng (Mr. Braithwaite), Peter Adams (Big Davey), Robin Long (dead mum), John Davin (George), Byron Darden (posh dad/Scab), and Caroline Workman (Lesley).

Featured in the ensemble are actors AJ Manuel Lucero, Ben Choi-Harris, Ben Salus, Brad Reinking, Edward Simon, Gian Raffaele DiCostanzo, Gigi Watson, Mark Dreher-Sumpter, Mark Soucy, Maxwell Seelig and Will Christmann.

Lily Ramras plays ballet teacher Mrs. Wilkinson’s daughter Debbie, and other members of the ballet girl ensemble include Addison Oken, Aimee Coleman, Anabel Moda, Charlotte Um, Elizabeth Crawford, Emi Rodes, Haven Pereira, Isabelle Cotney, Joey Gold, Lily Park, Madi Shaer, Margaret McFadden, Natalie Hall, Phoebe Anthony, Tessa Bigelow and Zoe Stewart.

WFT’s award-winning creative team includes Susan Kosoff (Director), Jon Goldberg (Musical Director), Laurel Conrad (Choreographer), Matthew Lazure (Set Design), Frank Meissner Jr. (Lighting Design), Melissa Miller (Costume Design) and Marge Lusignan (Properties).

The production runs from Friday, Jan. 27 through Sunday, Feb. 26; Friday evening shows are at 730 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 300 p.m. Special vacation week matinees at 1 p.m. on Feb. 21, 22 and 23. For tickets ($20-$38), call the box office at 617-879-2300 or tickets@wheelock.edu.