“And I did,” he pipes in.
She hugs him goodbye and watches him run into rehearsal. “I have to just support him in what he loves to do.”
* * *
The “Billy Elliot” tour is open-ended, but whenever it’s over, J.P. looks forward to attending a traditional high school back home in San Francisco. He wants to focus on math and science, his favorite subjects.
“I love you, J.P.,” Kylend says when he hears this. “But what kind of idiot would go from ‘Billy Elliot’ to high school?” He spits the words “high school” out as though they’re the name of some disgusting, highly contagious disease. Kylend plans to head to L.A. and try his luck at television and movies.
Zach wants to attend an arts high school, and Lex, from Irvine, Calif., is hoping to continue with dance; his specialty is hip-hop. Ty, an Ontario native, just wants to keep doing what he’s doing, though he’s bound to hit a rough patch soon: too old for children’s roles, too young for male leads.
But tonight that doesn’t matter because Ty is Billy Elliot, and the show is about to end. He is tapping through “Finale,” his favorite number. The clackety-clack of the cast’s feet fills the theater, and the audience is in standing-ovation mode, clapping along. Though Ty has spent the night speaking in Billy’s Geordie accent (sample dialogue: “Just becoz I do ballih dohsin’t mean I’m a pouf”), he wears a goofy grin that is pure Ty.
“Billy’s actually just a normal person,” J.P. said earlier that day. “Not ‘A character! In a musical!’ People can identify with him. Even if they don’t dance, they can recognize his struggle.”
Meanwhile the song is ending, the bows are wrapping up, and the cast sings the last words of the show, a reprise of “Expressing Yourself”: “Everyone is different, it’s a natural thing, it’s a fact that’s plain to see . . . What we need is in-di-vid-u-a-li-ty!”
Opens Tuesday. Through Jan. 15. Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW, www.kennedy-center.org, 202-467-4600