Note: Cristian López’s final show as Billy in the Spanish production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid was on Jan 13, 2019.
Debut: November 24, 2017 (Madrid, Spain)
Total Performances as Billy: 51 (Includes four partial shows credited at 0.5 each)
Cristian López was 12 years old (D.O.B = 4-Oct-2005) when he made his debut as Billy Elliot in Madrid. He is from Benajarafe, which is a small town near Málaga. He currently lives with his mother and his grandmother in Arganda del Rey in Madrid.
Cristian has been dancing from a very young age, and has been a student at Escuela Superior de Artes Escénicas de Málaga (ESAEM) since he was just three years old. His mother also took him to ‘kid-fit’ classes, a type of gymnastics class that combines music and dance.
In 2015 Cristian played the lead role of ‘Charlie’ in ESAEM’s summer dance production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was this performance that was to be his break into the world of musical theatre. One of the casting directors for the popular show The Lion King in Madrid happened to be in the audience and was so impressed by Cristian’s performance that he encouraged his mother to bring him to audition for the show. Cristian duly went along to the audition and was cast in the role of ‘Young Simba’, a very demanding role, as he was almost continuously on stage for the first hour and a half of the show.
Cristian went on to play the role for a year between Feb 2016 and Feb 2017 at the Lope de Vega Theatre in Madrid. Talking about his time in The Lion King, Cristian said, “I never get nervous; it gets better every time. I really enjoy being on stage.”
Whilst starring in one musical, Cristian was already eyeing up his next leading role – Billy Elliot. As soon as he finished his run as Simba, Cristian jumped into BETM rehearsals, which were from 5.30 to 9.30 every weekday evening after school. Cristian continued to attend training and rehearsals for many months at Teatro Calderón (where the Billy Elliot School is hosted), in order to prepare for the show’s opening in September 2017.
When he is older Cristian hopes to continue doing musical theatre as a career. His mother has been surprised at his swift climb to stardom as there are no other performers in the family. With reference to his first role, “From a young age we could see that he loved to dance and sing, but we never imagined that he would end up being part of a cast for such an important and long-standing musical.”
Cristian’s debut performance as Billy Elliot on 24-Nov-2017 makes him the 228th actor worldwide to play the role in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the musical.
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