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Elton John graces Toronto red carpet at Billy Elliot gala

Sir Elton John, centre, and husband David Furnish are interviewed by a TV presenter as they arrive at the opening night of 'Billy Elliot the Musical' in Toronto on March 1, 2011.

Chris Young/Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Rock royalty was in Toronto Tuesday night as Elton John attended the gala premiere of Billy Elliot The Musical.

The Rocket Man, who wrote the music for the show, and his husband, executive producer David Furnish, emerged from a black SUV outside the Canon Theatre on Yonge Street looking dapper in black tuxedos and waved at the hundred or so spectators across the street before walking the red carpet.

"It feels like a dream come true," Mr. Furnish said.

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Sir Elton said he wished he could have seen a musical like this when he was growing up. "It's about someone chasing their dreams, and as a kid I always wanted to be involved in music, and I had one parent who was against it and one parent who was for it," he said. "That's why the film had such an effect on me. I went, 'Oh my god, that's my life story.' "

The musical adaptation of the hit movie about a boy who discovers a love for dance has won 10 Tony Awards since it first staged in London in 2005.

The Toronto premiere attracted the likes of sportscaster Brian Williams, So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge Tre Armstrong and Canada AM host Seamus O'Regan.

Musical productions in the city still attract large audiences, but American attendance figures are nowhere near where they were before the SARS outbreak in 2003, when 50 per cent of the theatre audience came from south of the border during peak months, according to John Karastamatis, director of communications at Mirvish Productions.

And while it is impossible to know what will be a hit and what will flop, David Mirvish is optimistic that Billy Elliot will draw large audiences.

"I'm hopeful that it will be embraced," he said.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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