A Sheffielder who was one of the original stars of the stage version of Billy Elliot has returned to the show for a special reunion seen around the world.
James Lomas, aged 24, whose family live in Chapeltown, was one of 27 Billy Elliots who took part in a special version of Billy Elliot: The Musical that was screened live to cinemas yesterday.
James’s mum Catherine, dad Peter, brother Adam and his fiancee Pamela all went to watch the live show at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London’s West End.
Adam is a fund manager who lives in London.
Catherine said appearing in the show launched James’s career.
He has just moved back home temporarily after two years in Starlight Express in Germany, where he worked with its creator Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and choreographer Arlene Phillips.
Other roles have included touring the UK in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Dirty Dancing in the West End.
At the age of 16 he went straight from appearing in Billy Elliot to Millennium Performing Arts in London.
Hairdresser Catherine and steelworker Peter were drawn into an unfamiliar showbiz world when James won the role in Billy Elliot, shared with Liam Mower and George Maguire.
They had lunch with Sir Elton John, who wrote the music, saw James at the Olivier Awards in 2006 when the three Billys jointly won the award for best actor in a musical and when James won the Variety Club’s 2005 outstanding new talent award.
Catherine joked she was never a pushy stage mum but had a pushy stage son!
“He joined High Green Operatic Society at 11 when one of my clients said they needed some boys for Oliver!
“I joinedas well and I remember driving back home after the first night. James said, ‘Mum, I want to do this for a job’. I thought it was ridiculous, how can you do a job like this?”
James was advisedthat if he wanted to work in the West End he would have to learn to dance, so he went to the Sharon Berry School.
Miss Berry told James about the auditions for Billy Elliot after seeing an advert in trade paper The Stage.
Catherine remembers thinking it was a waste of money going to the auditions but when he got the role she was thrilled.