Monday, August 19, 2019
More

    Meet Billy Elliot: Benjamin Cheng

    Note: Benjamin’s final show as Billy was in the US Regional production of BETM presented by Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN, on September 6, 2015.

    Debut: 13-Aug-2015 (Playhouse on the Square, Memphis, TN)

    Total Performances as Billy: 16 (No partial shows)

    Benjamin Cheng Thumb3Benjamin Cheng was 13-years-old (D.O.B. = 28-Jan-2002) when he played the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical in the Playhouse on the Square US regional production of the show presented on Aug 13 (preview by invitation) to Sep 6, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.

    IMG_8495 Resized1Benjamin is a student at the Briarcrest Christian School where, besides the academics, he has been active in the Middle School’s performing arts program. In addition to the performing arts, Ben lists Beatbox, Magic and Card Tricks, and eating anything chocolate as favorite things to do.

    His training in the performing arts includes dance classes (Hip-Hop, Jazz, Tap, Ballet) with Kara Marcum at Dance Dynamics, Voice and Master Dance classes at Broadway Connections, as well as private Tap classes from Whitney Branan and private Voice lessions from Daniel Spiotta.

    In dance, Benjamin has been very successful as both a soloist and in group competitions. 

    As an example of his dance skills, in this brief video, at a National Dance Competition in 2015, Benjamin’s group was awarded 1st Place Small Group Overall for their rendition of Another One Bites the Dust:

    For someone his age, Ben has an impressive resume already.  Some of the recent theatrical presentations he’s been involved with include: 

    Production

    Role

    Place/Production Type

    Peter Pan Jr.

    Peter

    Memphis, TN – Community

    The Boy From Oz (Dir. Jerry Chipman)

    Young Peter

    Memphis, TN – Regional

    Beauty and the Beast

    LeFou

    Memphis, TN – Community

    Little Mermaid

    Flounder

    Memphis, TN – Community

    Peter Pan (Dir. Dave Landis)

    Nibs

    Memphis, TN – Professional

    Les Miserables (Dir. Gary John La Rosa)

    Gavroche

    Memphis, TN – Professional

    In this short video, Benjamin displays his vocal skills as he performs as Gavroche in Les Miserables:

    Benjamin auditioned for BETM on February 14, 2015.  The audition process was lengthy and thorough.  Benjamin and the other boys auditioning were asked if they knew what was going on during Billy’s time and what they thought of Billy. They then played a game to get loosened up (and to see how well they acted with others). From there they learned a ballet routine, then performed in groups. Benjamin Cheng - ElectricityThey also learned a tap routine and again performed in groups. Finally, they had vocal auditions. After that first phase was over, some of the boys were asked to stay. Those who stayed then did cold reads of the script. On February 24th, Benjamin was offered the role. 

    As Benjamin had no gymnastics/acro training before this show, in May that was the first thing for which he began to get training.  He also began to learn the tap and ballet routines specific to the show. Per his mom, Shelly, Benjamin couldn’t do splits at the beginning but by July had them down. After that, rehearsals with the rest of the cast began and have continued right up to the first preview on August 13, 2015.

    And, when he set foot on the stage of the Playhouse on the Square theater that evening, Benjamin joined a very exclusive club. He became the 107th young actor in the world, since Liam Mower became the first in 2005, to professionally play the role of Billy Elliot.
     

    Credit: Videos in this article by Benjamin Cheng/Production Photos by Chris Neely Photography

    unnamed

    For more information about Benjamin, visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum, Benjamin on Facebook

     ___________________________

    To The Alphabetical Profile Index

    To The Playhouse on the Square Profile Page

    To A Complete Listing of All BETM Articles on Skykid

     

    Current Productions

    Where productions of BETM are currently playing in the world, or will be soon?.

    Location Country
    Madrid Spain
    Tampere Finland
    São Paulo Brazil
    Pilsen Czech Republic

         

     

     

     

     

     North American Regional Productions

    Theatre Company City/State/Country
    Stratford Festival Stratford, ON, Canada