When the call for auditions went out in November 2015, 1,346 boys sent in their head shots and resumes hoping to land what could be a life-changing role as the titular lead in a Japanese production of “Billy Elliot.”
The competition was fierce — around 900 couldn’t even get through the door — but why wouldn’t it be? The musical is based on the award-winning film of the same name that made a star out of its young lead, Jamie Bell. A hugely successful musical in London’s West End that ran for 11 years followed. It received four Olivier Awards before closing in April last year after 4,600 performances.