Note: Cesar’s Final Performance as Billy was in Toronto on May 1, 2011
Debut: March 18, 2010 (Chicago)
Total Performances as Billy: 101 (No partial shows)
Cesar Corrales (D.O.B. Sept. 26, 1996) was born in Mexico. At the time he played Billy, however, his family resided in Montreal, Canada. Cesar’s mom and dad are also dancers so it was natural that he should literally follow in their footsteps. Along with the former Broadway Billy, Liam Redhead, and fellow Toronto Billys Marcus Pei and Myles Erlick, Cesar is a student of Canada’s National Ballet School, having joined that prestigious institution in 2008.
Despite the fact that he made his debut in professional musical theater with Billy Elliot, Cesar is no stranger to the big stage and large audiences. Beginning at the early age of four, he performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in “Madama Butterfly”. He later also appeared in that organization’s production of “Anna Karenina”. Cesar has also danced the Nutcracker with both the National Ballet of Canada and Les Grands Ballet Canadiens. Cesar also has the distinction of having a movie credit on his resume. Released in 2004, when he was just 8 years old, Cesar appeared in the Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez film “Shall We Dance?” as… what else?… a dancer. And, ironically, the movie was partially filmed in Chicago. And as far as the acrobatic requirements for the role of Billy, Cesar didn’t need to start from scratch there either. He’s a member of the Club IMCO Gymnastique (a gymastics club in Montreal) and has taken part in various gymnastics competitions, including winning first place at the Coupe Quebec in 2008. In this brief video, Cesar’s abilities in ballet, street dance/modern dance and acrobatics can be seen:
Credit: Video by pacoduke
In June, 2009, Cesar attended an open audition in Toronto for BETM, along with several others from the National Ballet School and a variety of other boys from Canada and the northern United States. After several callbacks, he was asked to come to NYC for a final audition. Cesar describes what that experience was like: ““I was amazingly excited, because I’d never been to New York,” he says. “But there was a little problem – my parents are Cuban, we live in Montreal, and it’s hard for them to get a visa. So I had to travel to New York by myself. It was very nerve-wracking at first. I stayed with a friend of my parents, someone I’d never met before. She showed me around, and it was a lot of fun. My parents called every night to ask me how the rehearsals were. It’s helpful to have parents that have been through auditions, because they gave me little pointers that were really useful.” Cesar obviously impressed the creative team as, shortly after his trip to NYC, he was offered the role.
In September of 2009, when the first three Chicago Billys were introduced to the city, it was evident right from the start that the boys would get along well together. They toured the city and even got the chance to visit the Oriental Theater where Billy Elliot the Musical would be staged beginning in March, 2010. They stood on the stage and gazed out at the empty seats and imagined what they will look like filled on Opening Night.
Credit: Photo by Amy Boyle
Cesar and Giuseppe Bausilio (another of the original Chicago Billys, who is now an originating Billy with the US National Tour), were joined by a newly announced 4th Billy – JP Viernes. Together, in the Fall of 2009, they began the intense training and rehearsal process needed to prepare them for the role, working with the show’s creative team in New York. Then the Billys joined the rest of the Chicago cast when full cast rehearsals began in early January, 2010 on that Oriental Theatre stage in Chicago and at other rehearsal halls around the city.
Credit: Photo by Joan Marcus
On March 18, 2010, Cesar performed as Billy in the first preview of Billy Elliot the Musical in Chicago and then seven more times during the four weeks of previews, the most of any of the Billys. He then had the honor of portraying Billy on the Official Opening Night of the show on April 11, 2010. On May 13, 2010 Cesar and Keean Johnson (who, at the time, played Billy’s best friend Michael in the show) were interviewed on the popular Garry Meier Show on WGN Radio in Chicago. You can hear that interview here. In October of 2010, BETM published an informative article called Finding Billy Elliot, in which Cesar is prominently quoted.
In this video footage from January, 2011, Cesar is seen practicing his considerable ballet talents in a ballet class:
Credit: Video by Pacoduke
Cesar again had the honor of opening the production in Toronto in the first preview, the evening of February 1, 2011 and then again did the official Opening Night/Press Night on March 1st. Cesar’s last show as Billy was on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 1:30pm. He will not go back to training for a career in dance. But having had a taste of ably carrying a three-hour musical, we shouldn’t be surprised if we again see him on stage one day in another one. God Speed, Cesar. Happy Trails.
For more information about Cesar Corrales visit: