Note: Ben Renfrow’s final show as Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) in Kansas City, Missouri, presented by The Spinning Tree Theatre, was on April 20, 2019.
Debut: April 4, 2019 (Kansas City, MO)
Total Performances as Billy: 14 (No partial shows)
Ben Renfrow was 13 years old (D.O.B. = 3-May-2005) when he debuted as Billy Elliot in BETM at the Spinning Tree Theatre in Kansas City. Ben resides with his dad Casey and mom Jennifer, his twin brother Sam, and older brother Jack, in Warrensburg, Missouri. At the time of his debut as Billy, Ben was an 8th grade student at the Middle School in Warrensburg.
Much of Ben’s performance training has come at Center Stage Academy of the Performing Arts, in Warrensburg. The school is owned and operated by Ben’s parents, with Jennifer as the School’s director.
In November and December, 2018, Ben was in the cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, along with future co-star Robin Robles (Michael in BETM). Ben played a variety of roles (including an Elf and Snoken Puppeteer) over 91 performances, giving him loads of performing experience.
Much to his chagrin, while he missed quite a bit of school because of this commitment, his teachers were very supportive and worked with him to keep up his school work. In fact, Warrensburg Middle School Principal Jim Elliott said this was a unique opportunity for the 13-year-old. “To me, there are opportunities that come forward that if you can take advantage of them, then you take advantage of them,” Elliott said.
Other recent theatre credits include: Les in Coterie Theatre’s co-production of Newsies with the White Theatre at The J, Sheldon in Junie B. Jones, The Musical Jr. at Center Stage Academy, Musical Mondays & Tuesdays at Musical Theater Heritage, and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins at The Theatre In The Park where he played opposite his real life mom (Jennifer, who starred as Mary Poppins). In BETM Ben will once again be joined on stage by his mom, who will rather fittingly be playing the role of Billy’s mother.
Upon his debut, Ben became the 263rd actor in the world to bring the role of Billy Elliot to life, in a professional, regional, or community theatre production of the musical.
Credit: Some production photos from the Spinning Tree Theatre production of BETM in this article are by J Robert Schraeder Photography
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