Father knows best. Sometimes. Or not at all.
That’s one of the things veteran actor Bryan Greaves likes about playing Jackie Elliot, father of the title character in the Cincinnati Music Theatre production of Billy Elliot opening Nov. 4 at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater in the Aronoff Center.
“It’s a more emotional piece, not comedic,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of musical comedy and there are some comic moments, but the chance to expand with a more dramatic role is something that attracted me to the part.”
CMT audiences will recognize Bryan. His first show with Cincinnati’s downtown community theater was H.M.S. Pinafore in 2008. He was back the following year as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.
He’s been active on stage for 34 years, starting at age 7 in his hometown of York, Penn. His first show? A piece promoting unity between the USA and USSR called Peace Child featuring an international cast of American and Russian performers.
Bryan’s favorite number in Billy Elliot? “He Could be a Star.”
“It runs the gamut of emotions – minus happy, maybe,” he said. “But it brings him from a place of anger to solution. It’s a great song.”
Bryan has a 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, so working with Peanut Edmonson in the title role of Billy wasn’t much of a stretch.
“Almost immediately it was a give and take with us,” he said. “But also, being a dad myself, it gave us sort of a father-son thing pretty quickly. Even though (Jackie) is kind of a jerk, there’s some real love and emotion he has for his family.”
Billy Elliot is based on the 2000 film of the same name, featuring a score by Elton John with book and lyrics by Lee Hall. It tells the story of Billy, an 11-year-old boy who wants nothing more than to dance at the Royal Ballet School in London. Set against a British coal mining strike in 1984-85, the rough-and-tumble realities of life make dreams difficult to pursue.
Tickets are available now online here or by phone at 513-627-ARTS.