As far as film-adapted musicals go, the stage production of Billy Elliot has to be one of the most successful in the West End. It made its world première in 2005, and on 12th May 2014, the award-winning show celebrated nine years at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Several new cast members were welcomed into the company in commemoration of the milestone event, playing their first performance on the show’s 9th birthday to mark the occasion.
Olivier Award-winning actress Ruthie Henshall made her Billy Elliot début as dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, joined by Chris Grahamson in the fellow-principal role of Billy’s brother Tony and Barnaby Meredith, who returned to play Older Billy. There were also new additions to the ensemble team. One new face to join the show in its ninth year was that of David Stoller, who has fallen under the spotlight of In Profile and is the featured ensemble member in this week’s edition of the popular article series.
David Stoller is a talented, well-rounded performer who has been working in the theatre industry for nearly a decade now and has contributed much to it in that time. He attended the prestigious University of Hertfordshire, graduating in 2000 with a 1st Class Degree (BA Hons) in Performing Arts in addition to being awarded the Nigel Hawthorne Award for Outstanding Achievement. Much of his time afterwards was spent on writing before he refocused on building a successful career in acting, and in 2006, he made his professional début when he was cast in Bill Kenwright’s UK tour of The Who’s Tommy, playing The Specialist and also as the production’s Dance Captain. Several other projects followed, including an appearance as Harlow in In The Red at the Elgiva Theatre, a rebranded 300-seated/400 standing capacity theatre in Chesham. He then took to the road again, this time touring internationally in The Official Tribute to The Blues Brothers in which he played the leading role of Elwood.
He returned to London in 2010 to play Sam in Dusty – A Life in Music, staged at the Leicester Square Theatre. After that, he played Kenneth Halliwell in The Boys in the Front Room, a new musical based on the lives of British playwright Joe Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell who, in 1967, murdered his lover before committing suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.
In 2008, Stoller made his West End début in its longest-running musical, Les Miserables. He joined the show at the Queen’s Theatre in an ensemble capacity playing Thernadier’s henchman Brujon, but also covered the lead role of Valjean. He has continued to be involved with the classic musical since leaving the West End production, taking part in the 21st anniversary recording (BBC Radio), the 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, and most recently, with a cameo role in the Les Miserables film adaption as Sailor 1.
He has worked steadily in the West End since that first appearance, moving across town after leaving the Queens Theatre to join the company of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. He played the principal role of Doctor Dillamond in the show, appearing on stage alongside the likes of Alexia Khadime (Elphaba), Diane Pilkington (Glinda), Sam Kelly (The Wizard) and Oliver Tompsett (Fiyero). He returned at the show’s curtain call on 27th September 2011 to celebrate its 5th anniversary with other former cast members, including Kerry Ellis, Lee Mead, George Ure, Cassandra Compton, Nigel Planer and Adam Garcia.
After Wicked he went to the Lyceum Theatre where he was a Walking Cover for Scar/Pumbaa/Banzai in Disney’s The Lion King, and most recently, he played Sergeant Galovitch in the Tim Rice musical From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
In addition to his stage credits, he has also worked as a writer, director and freelance acting coach. He has led workshops at such institutions as West End Classroom and Stagecoach Theatre Schools, including a Lion King workshop at ReWards Theatre School where he continues to be a guest teacher. He has also directed such shows as West End Backwards and Broadway Backwards (Kings Head Theatre).
His film credits include The Devil Went Down to Islington, Saturday, Flesh/Blood, Make Room in Hell and The Boy With A Camera For A Face.
David Stoller is currently appearing in Billy Elliot the musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre, joining the show as an ensemble member on 12th May 2014. He appears on stage as Scab and Posh Dad. A great talent who has a noteworthy list of theatre credits to his name, he is a great addition to the industry and his presence in West End these past few years has been nothing but a pleasure for audiences. He is a benefit to the West End scene and long may he continue to be a part of it.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 9th August 2014