Eleven years after he saw “Billy Elliot” in London’s West End and was inspired to stage the musical in Japan with a Japanese cast, Yoshitaka Hori, president of leading production company Horipro Corp., could finally stand smiling at a Tokyo press conference called on Dec. 18 to introduce the four boy actors selected to play the title role in the show’s runs spanning July 19-Nov. 4, 2017, at Akasaka Act Theater in Tokyo and Umeda Arts Theater in Osaka.

Based on 2000’s film of the same name, the musical — with music by Sir Elton John — ran in London from May 2005 to April 2016, winning four Olivier Awards. Among its many productions worldwide, this will be Asia’s second after Seoul’s in 2010.

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