Haydn Gwynne
Haydn Gwynne's tapping into a hidden talent as a Broadway hoofer in Billy Elliot
Haydn Gwynne does a number in the Broadway version of Billy Elliot where she has to tap-dance and skip at the same time.

The choreography is not featured in the London show - for which Haydn created the part of ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson.

'It was cruelty on Peter Darling's part to make me do that,' Haydn joked, as she referred to the show's celebrated choreographer.

'How cool is that? I'm tap-dancing on Broadway. I'm not even a dancer. It's pretty outrageous that I'm on Broadway!'
Haydn has been in New York since last summer, when rehearsals began. Performances kicked off last September.

The actress, who starred in Peak Practice and Drop The Dead Donkey on TV in the UK, has been honoured with several awards in New York and was nominated for a Tony.

The show won ten - pretty fabulous for a musical about a miner's son who wants to be a ballet dancer.

'This is the home of the musical - the home of Rodgers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter! Musicals were born and flourished here and when it's all over in years hence, Billy Elliot will be a chapter - or a paragraph - in the history of Broadway . . . and that's fantastic,' she told me.

I have to say that it's a particular thrill for me, having reported on this show ever since Elton John told Stephen Daldry and Eric Fellner, the producer from Working Title, that the film of Billy Elliot should become a stage musical.

Watching the show again, at the Imperial Theatre, I was gripped by the sense of how our political culture was electrifying a Broadway audience.

Lee Hall, who wrote both the film and the show, told me conversations continue about whether to move forward with a plan to turn the musical into a film.

'I think the problem would be its cost,' he said. 'Making a film musical is very expensive and this would be much, much bigger than the original film.' Haydn continues in the production through till the early autumn.

She laughed and explained how she's never borrowed so many clothes as she has since she came to New York.

'I've borrowed gowns from designers and girlfriends for all the awards shows and galas,' she told me, as she toyed with the shoulder strap of her deep violet gown (on loan from New York designer Randi Rahm).

'I was never into gowns and gems that much in Britain, but over here you get shot if you appear in the same outfit twice.'

Baz Bamigboye
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