Gina Rattan And Her 4 Billy Elliots

When you or I watch “Billy Elliot” we marvel at the dancing, the energy, the predictable but uplifting story line.

Gina Rattan watches actors’ entrances and exits.  She listens to decibel levels.

And she does it in rehearsals and performances, night after night, week after week after week.

Gina is “Billy Elliot”‘s resident director.  She’s responsible for maintaining the Broadway show’s consistency.  She keeps it true to its original creative vision.  She trains new cast members.

And — because there are 4 Billy Elliots — she spends much of her time handling a quartet of 11-year-old boys.

The Westport native loves every minute of it.

Gina Rattan

Her road to Broadway began with Staples Players.  She assistant directed main stages, One Acts and studios.  Director David Roth gives his students plenty of responsibility, and Gina reveled in the opportunity to learn all about theater, develop strong bonds and produce great shows.

After graduating in 2004, she earned a BFA in directing at the University of Michigan.  Like Staples, it combines a superb theater program with strong academics.  Gina studied every aspect of performing, from a worldly perspective.

She moved to the Old Globe in San Diego, working on Shakespeare and musicals.  She got jobs in New York, and with “Little House on the Prairie:  The Musical.”  Last winter she returned to Staples, helping Roth with the One-Act Festival.

In May — just a couple of weeks after interviewing for it  — she started her “Billy Elliot” gig.  It’s her best, most intriguing — and demanding — job so far.

It was a baptism by fire.  Gina learned the show — the timing, tempo, blocking, cues and “emotional temperature” that spell the difference between success and failure — at the same time she critiqued it.

It’s a huge undertaking.  There are 51 cast members, and the staging is complex.  Fortunately, Gina says, “I’m not responsible for the dancing.”  Two resident choreographers handle that task.

She’s got enough on her hands.  The 4 Billys — each boy does 2 shows a week — must deliver consistent performances, though all are different people.

The Billys respond well.  “They’re terrific kids,” Gina says.  “They’ve become a pack.  And everyone once in a while one of them says something that makes me think ‘Wow, you really are 11!”

The demands on the boys are intense.  Besides continuous rehearsals — 10 blocks from the Imperial Theatre — the 4 Billys juggle tutoring, physical therapy, strength training and acrobatics.

“They run all over the place,” Gina notes.  “I have to look at the big picture, and make sure it all fits together.”

The rest of the cast and crew have been great too.  They share their knowledge of “the life of the piece” — something Gina missed by not being there from Day One.

“Collaborating with colleagues, working with kids, learning how it all fits together — that’s what makes this such an amazing show,” she adds.

Every day, Gina adds to her skill set.  Whatever she does next, her experience as resident director has given her career a major boost.

So what’s next?

“I have no idea,” Gina says.  “My contract is for a year.  Right now, I just know I have rehearsal in 20 minutes.  And a long day ahead!”

7 responses to “Gina Rattan And Her 4 Billy Elliots

  1. I LOVE GINA!!

  2. She is TOO fierce! yay Gina!

  3. I got to watch her introduce fourth Billy, Giuseppe Bausilio, for his initial performance. I’d have never thought that this polished eleven-year-old was anything but a longterm star. Great work, Gina! Congratulations to all who helped her on her way!

  4. Gina is a rock star…she’s going to make her mark!!!! Go, Billy Elliot boys. You are so lucky to have the amazing Gina Rattan!!!!

  5. He is a long-term star, Todd. He has performed in the Chicago and national tour companies of the show, too!

  6. Dear Gina,
    I loved the show when I saw it last year and having someone i know actually is making it wonderful every night. Congratulations on a major Broadway success. Tom and I are sure that this is just the beginning of your big successes.
    good luck with all the new things you will be doing.
    Lots of love,
    Eve and Tom Green

  7. Way to go Gina !

    Ed McQuillan.